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Councillor Ian Lynch: "A review is required to develop a suitable policy that ensures public spaces and recreation areas are maintained to ensure the needs of residents and users.”

‘No Mow May’ policy needs refinement, say councillors


A REVIEW of ‘No Mow May’ , a policy where areas of grass weren’t cut last month to promote biodiversity is required before next year, last week’s meeting of Clare County Council heard.

At the June meeting of the Council, Councillor Ian Lynch asked for the review , which he said is required “to develop a suitable policy that ensures public spaces and recreation areas are maintained to ensure the needs of residents and users”.

In a report to the meeting, Senior Engineer with the Council’s Environment Department Cyril Feeney stated, “The ‘No Mow May’ initiative is part of the wider All Ireland Pollinator Plan.
The plan’s main aim is to ensure that pollinators have safety from pesticide chemicals and have food and shelter.

“The plan is not a prescriptive series of must-do actions but instead provides guidelines which require us to manage amenity areas and the countryside in a slightly different way. It is not about abandoning the landscape totally but instead we must manage it in a way that protects pollinators.

“With regard to open spaces, we do not need to routinely cut the entire area but instead perhaps focus our attention on areas which are widely used for amenity purposes while minimising our interventions in the surrounding areas.

“This is a new approach and will be kept under review. It will take time for the correct balance to be struck in what areas we maintain on a frequent basis and areas where we do not intervene to the same extent.”

Councillor Ian Lynch said that there is a need to learn from how the policy went in 2022.

“It isn’t applied consistently across the county and that’s something we can resolve next year.”

He said there is greater need for consistency in grass cutting across the county, and in Kilrush a CE scheme had taken responsibility for it, but can’t do as much now.

“When you drive from Kilrush into Ennis and see different areas that have been cut, people question why it has been neglected in Kilrush?” he added.

Councillor Lynch said the Council does need to be active in terms of grass cutting.

“One of the narratives is that the Council can’t be expected to do the job of the Tidy Towns which I think is probably the wrong attitude. This is a municipal function, cutting grass is something the Council should be doing.”

Fianna Fáil’s Cillian Murphy said that some contractors are not contracted to bring grass away after it’s cut, but that it certainly needs to be done for the first cut after No Mow May.

Council CEO Pat Dowling agreed, saying that after such a long spell without a cut it’d be “only common sense” that the cut grass be taken away.

Councillor Johnny Flynn said that in older estates of Ennis grass is cut by the Council, but none of the estates built in the last 33 years get this service.

He added that local residents groups have to fundraise to get it done themselves. He said one estate of 270 houses pays a huge amount in property tax, but doesn’t get any grass cutting provided by the local authority.

He said its bill for private provision for this year increased to €9,000 compared to €5,000 in 2021.

“There is a lot of inequity in the system,” Councillor Flynn added.

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.

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