Sheffield Council says grass-cutting trial is ‘not to save money’

Wilfdflowers in a grass verge in Derek Dooley Way, Sheffield, left to grow long as part of a collaboration between Sheffield Council and Ameys Streets Ahead, the University of Sheffield and Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust.
Wilfdflowers in a grass verge in Derek Dooley Way, Sheffield, left to grow long as part of a collaboration between Sheffield Council and Ameys Streets Ahead, the University of Sheffield and Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust.
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Sheffield Council has denied claims that its plan to let some grass verges grow long is a way to save money.

The authority announced a new trail approach to mowing, where some verges would be mown less frequently than others between now and October.

The council, working with the University of Sheffield and Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust, said the ‘living highways’ idea was to attract more wildlife.

The Lib Dem opposition tabled a number of questions about the scheme at Wednesday’s full council meeting, including whether the scheme would save any money.

In response, cabinet member for environment Bryan Lodge said: “The purpose of the trial is to assess the environmental impact, it is not an exercise to generate cost savings.

Explaining the criteria for the ‘living highways’, Coun Lodge said Sheffield was divided into four to make sure the whole city was represented in the trial. Roads with more than 100m of grass verges were randomly selected in each area.

But the Lib Dems said residents should have been consulted. Leader Coun Shaffaq Mohammed said: “Yet again the Labour council are taking the people of Sheffield for granted.

“There seems to be no rationale for the streets chosen so they could have at least had the courtesy to consult with residents first to see if they were happy to have their street take part in this study.”

The council alongside the university and the wildlife trust will carry out surveys to measure the number of insects and wildflowers in the verges. A bird survey will also be carried out. The results are likely to be published next year.