Winter Gritting Experts

Mow or seed: council money-saving lessons

June 14, 2019

With councils across the country under increasing amounts of pressure to do more from already limited grounds maintenance budgets, the lessons learnt and savings gained in local government by replacing mowing with wildflower verges apply equally to property portfolios across the nation.

Council Grounds Savings

Dorset County Council saves around £93,000 a year by only cutting rural road verges when needed, Burnley Borough Council estimates that it saves around £60,000 a year from cutting back on grass-cutting to help pollinators, and Monmouthshire County Council estimates that the saving made from a reduction in highway verge mowing is approximately £35,000 each year.

Dr Annabel King, Senior Ecologist at Dorset County Council said:

“We are very proud to be one of the first local authorities to produce and implement a pollinator action plan. The plan is specifically aimed at helping all pollinators – including bees, butterflies and moths, numbers of which have declined severely in the last 50 years.

“The plan has enabled us to make significant savings. We save around £93k a year by only cutting rural road verges when needed, allowing wildflowers and grasses to flower and set seed. We also never use topsoil when creating new road verges anymore, as subsoil results in wildflower-rich grass, which is of greater use to pollinators and costs less to manage. On the Weymouth Relief Road, this method has resulted in management costs of £500 per year – as opposed to an estimated £2,700 if the verges had been spread with topsoil.”


gritit wild meadow

Popular with the public

wild flowersThe introduction of pollinator wildflower meadows is also very popular with the public.

A YouGov poll for Friends of the Earth and Buglife, published in 2017, revealed that almost two thirds of the population (63%) agreed that local councils should be doing more to protect Britain's bees, while 81% of the public backed calls for councils to help Britain's under-threat bees by cutting areas of grass less often in parks and roadside verges to allow wild flowers to grow.

With Facebook posts such as these praising the local councils for resisting mowing in favour of growing, there is a good incentive for property and facility managers to take a second look at growing a wild meadow, how their grounds maintenance budgets are allocated, and take a more cost-effective and also people-pleasing approach to keeping the grounds maintained.


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