A new cutting regime will see Leicester’s grass left longer in some areas. Some sites will be left to grow between March and October, while others will be cut just once or twice a year, Leicester City Council has said.
The council unveiled its new grassland strategy this week. The aim is to help reduce CO2 levels and provide more space for nature to thrive within the city, the authority added.
Around 14 per cent of Leicester’s total surface area is council-managed grassland. That includes parks, public squares, roadside verges, grassed areas on housing estates, meadows, and nature areas.
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The new strategy sets out revised maintenance and cutting regimes for those areas. Wildflower sites on verges and in suitable park grassland will be left to grow during the flowering season of March to October to create an attractive display of native and non-native plants and provide an important habitat.
Flowering lawns, deliberately planted with a mix of hardy wildflowers to improve biodiversity, will be cut up to six times a year. Naturalised grass areas – where grass has been planted to create a habitat – will be cut once or twice a year, with clippings left to improve the habitats and hibernation sites for invertebrates and small mammals.
Sports pitches, formal lawns in parks and squares and other specialised grass areas will be mown as frequently as required.
Grass cutting regimes will also need to adapt to a changing climate, with wetter winters and hotter and drier summers. This means mowing may be delayed following extreme weather to allow grassland to recover and prevent any damage by machinery when the ground is saturated.
Deputy City Mayor Councillor Adam Clarke, who leads on transport, clean air and climate emergency, said: “This new grassland strategy reflects a growing recognition of the value of grassland and the contribution it can make to our city’s biodiversity and response to the climate emergency. We want people to realise that if they see longer grass on our parks and verges, this is an intentional change that will support wildlife and pollinators as well as helping the city achieve its net zero carbon goal.
“In some cases, it is also a necessity brought about by the changing climate and the much wetter winters and hotter summers. All of this means we need to continually review how we manage and enhance our grassland to ensure that we’re getting the greatest benefit from this valuable resource.”
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