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No Mow May

I always like something that can be immediately actioned and with noticeable results – a ‘take home’ if you will.  My ‘take – home’ after our first virtual climate summit on Wednesday was ‘No Mow May’: this is a prime month for pollinators and so not mowing your lawn for May is a little, immediate non – action that can be taken – and I have to say I am convinced I am seeing more birds already and my garden feels to be more alive.    For those of you who know me – there could be a cynical observation that this ‘messy’ gardening is not discernibly different from my usual gardening efforts but I am sure you are all far too kind to point this out!

There are visibly different views on the mowing front: you only have to walk down a street with grassy verges and spot the people who neatly mow the verge immediately outside their property; comments regarding church yards that the parish have chosen to leave fallow and of course the challenge of verges on highways.

Another ‘take home’ from the Climate Summit, specifically from the breakout discussion rooms, was debate about the verge maintenance policy, my inbox has had quite a few emails and I know our Customer Services Team has also fielded quite a few calls.

This year RCC is following the Plantlife regime( a metre cut late March and then a full width cut in September.  This approach is considered to be the optimum for enabling a rich bio – diversity.  There are of course other considerations and ensuing exceptions: visibility splays (aka ensuring visibility for road users – junctions onto A roads an obvious example) and the control of noxious plants such as ragwort and Japanese Knotweed.    We also have protected verges (Plantlife regime) and 2 SSSI verges which have just one full width cut in September – an approach approved by Natural England.

There are some parishes that take responsibility for their own verge cutting (anything in the ‘urban’ boundary of the parish – aka within the 30 mph).  These parishes are: Belmesthorpe, Braunston, Cottesmore, Edith Weston, Empingham, Essendine, Great Casterton, Ketton, Langham, Ryhall, South Luffenham.

I then move onto the thorny issue of herbicide spraying on the any footway or carriage way that has a kerb: currently twice per year (March/April and August / September).   Open green space and urban verges are cut 10 times per year.

A rather specific blog covering one element of our approach to the environment; clearly this is a very broad topic as reflected by the wide range of speakers on Wednesday (there will be a recording and I will share the link when the editing has taken place).  What was clear though was that there is a real thirst and desire for Rutland to have its own network of climate action groups.   This is the next phase of work – uniting and joining forces to achieve the ultimate ambition: Rutland the greenest county in the country.

If you were not able to attend the summit – do send me your contact details and I will link you to like – minded people in your area – we are in a climate crisis but when the going gets tough … the tough get going!


Councillor Lucy Stephenson

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