CLARE County Council’s policy of leaving grass to grow long on public land during May, might be a boost to biodiversity, but not everyone is wild about it.
The council has signed up to ‘No Mow May’, leaving lands in its charge largely untouched, to allow pollinating plants and weeds to flourish and offer a helping hand to bees.
The policy has not gone down well in one Kilrush estate however, which has seen its children’s play area become overgrown and unusable.
James Coughlan, who lives in Island View estate, said he did not have a problem with pro-biodiversity policies, as such, but a more nuanced approach was necessary.
“I’d understand if we were in Manhattan or some other concrete jungle and we had to preserve some areas for the bees, but we’re in west Clare, there are thousands of acres of fields all around us, we have a big park close by as well.
“Children’s play areas need to be kept clear. There are dozens of children around here and they can’t go out and play in their green area.
“They love to go out and play football and hurling in front of the estate and we have nice goal posts set up for them, but they can’t go out in it. You’d lose the ball inside there in five seconds,” James told The Champion.
“And you know the problem these days, if kids can’t go out and play they’re stuck inside on PlayStations and the like.”
James said he made contact with the council on two occasions and was told, it was ‘No Mow May’ and “that was the policy now”.
“I don’t think the bees need our play areas, as I say, there are thousands of acres of uninterrupted wildlife in west Clare and all around Kilrush; the bees are more than catered for.”
The flower beds in the park have also been left to run wild, which James said he found odd in the context of the policy.
“I would have thought that flowers in a flower bed would be more beneficial to the bees than the overgrown grass that’s in them at the moment.
“I haven’t seen any kids out in the play area because of the grass, and I haven’t seen any bees either for that matter, not one, and I’ve been looking.”
He also pointed out the overgrown state of Millennium Park area adjacent to the marina, where it was difficult to see the seats because the area was overgrown. It created a poor impression to the many tourists coming to the area, he said.
The Champion asked the Council if it would consider a more selective approach to ‘No Mow May’ in the future.
While it did not respond directly to that, the Council said it was taking a leadership role in promoting biodiversity.
A spokesperson said, “Clare County Council are adopting a “No Mow May” policy in support of the All Ireland Pollinator plan.
“We understand the concern raised by the reader but we must also learn to change as a society in how we interact and engage with the biodiversity that surrounds us.
“These small changes over time will all help to make a difference in sustaining the rich flora and fauna which is under threat from climate change and other human interventions.
“The Council are leading by example in this area and are encouraging all landowners and garden owners to adopt a similar approach.”