The momentum is gathering to return the nation’s grass verges back to nature and the wildlife. Since 2013 an organisation known as Plantlife has been petitioning the local councils to let the grass verges grow wild.
So far nearly 70,000 people have added their signatures to the petition to encourage more councils to adopt this methodology of grass cutting. It doesn’t mean that it is not cut at all, but later in the year. This is to allow the pollinators to do their work. Once that magic has happened the seeds can ripen and fall to the ground.
The amount of area covered by verges and also parks and gardens that the local authorities have is enormous and this constant hacking them back all the time really is a great shame because they could provide a tremendous amount of food for such a wide range of beneficial insectsPam Hunter, Head of research at the British Beekeepers’ Association (Source BBC)
Local Council Early Adopters
Rotherham Borough Council have adopted this new approach since 2013. Not only that, they have been planting wildflower seeds on a stretch between the town centre, Catcliffe and Bramley.
Nottinghamshire County Council are trialling the project for 2 years to see if they can disover the benefits of such a system. Hertfordshires highway teams are trialling planting different wildlife friendly flowers, while councillors from Wrexham are going to attend a Q&A session with Plantlife to learn of the benefits of such a scheme can bring.
Will Reducing the Number of Grass Cuts Save The Council Money
The adoption of this type of grass cutting management strategy is one way in which the council is able to save money. Rotherham Borough Council estimates that it saves around £23,000 a year by allowing the verges to grow.
However Nottinghamshire County Council probably saved around a modest £150. This ended up being due to revisits of areas where road safety was a concern. Of course the council have only just begun this journey so the learning curve is steep.
Mowing teams still needed to visit each of the six locations originally earmarked for promoting verge growth to trim back sections affecting motorists visibility.Nottingham County Council
Find out how Grass Smart can help you manage your grass verges
Road Safety Concerns And Wild Verges
Whilst the wild verges are on the increase there is also a concern for safety. This is especially true where it’s necessary to maintain a shorter sward near to the road’s edge, particularly at junctions. The verge is then graded to a taller sward near to the hedgerow.
It is crucial that verges are cut to ensure roads are safe for all road users and to prevent road drainage damageMartin Tett, environment spokesman at the Local Government Association ( Source BBC )
Of course with motorists safety in mind the wild verge scheme does take a little more management. The old system of planning from paper maps and experience is just not going to do anymore. For the proper management of all your green assets you need to digitise your verge network.
Expensive Mistakes Made From Paper Planning
One council unfortunately got it horribly wrong when 100 sapling’s were mowed down. It was not only the trees that suffered it was also hundreds of poppies, primroses and meadow buttercups.
Everyone’s hard work had gone to waste. “Lovely wildflowers, including cornflowers and poppies, looked wonderful and they were all taken down in their prime”Sarah Ottaway, chair of the Kingsway Wildlife and Sustainability Group ( Source BBC )
This mistake was made by a contractor working for the council and unfortunately miscommunication is that led to this costly mistake. It is imperative that your green assets and work schedules are centralised, enabling field operatives a spatial view of important assets as they sit on the ground. Grass Smart is the solution to managing your green spaces and wild verges.
Grass Smart The Grass Management Software By Kaarbontech
The digitisation of green spaces and their assets is the key to good management. Once you have collated all this information using Grass Smart, no expensive mistakes should be made again. The advantage of using the grass management software is being able to direct your workforce exactly. With the increasing pressure to cultivate wild verges it is imperative that road safety is maintained.
The Benefits Of Using Grass Smart
- Digital asset database
- User friendly interface for ease of use
- No need for maps and paper
- Instant reporting on crew productivity
- Multiple skill set job allocation
- Real time job allocation
- Field data wirelessly synced to office
- Ease of use / user friendly interface
- Fully integrable to any 3rd party software
- Bespoke design to suit your needs
- Improved productivity
- Easy defect reporting
Of course whilst mapping your green spaces you can collect data on other asset types and build up additional asset inventory. This allows Local Authorities to be proactive in their management of any asset maintenance.
Types of Assets Collectable With Grass Smart
- Public Parks
- Closed churchyards
- Highway verges
- Open spaces
- Recreation grounds
- Housing courts
- Flats green areas
- Sheltered housing
- Municipal Golf course
- Lamp post / street lights
- Park benches
- Road signs
- Waste Disposal Bin
Equipment Allocation with Grass Smart
Once an asset has been loaded onto the system you can then allocate resources to service that area. Improved planning significantly increase productivity and reduces abortive visits.
Time management and scheduling
Having a complete asset database allows you to query your network and plan work accordingly. Not only does this allow for more efficient planning this data can be used for future budget projections and evidence for recurring additional funding.
Public Sector Software Solutions By Kaarbontech
- Gully Smart
- Grit Smart
- Tree Smart
- Grass Smart
Contact us today so we can show how to make savings on your asset maintenance schedule.