Sustainable Greenspace Management

Article from Liverpool Express:

Liverpool City Council is committed to reducing our environmental impact and becoming a Net Zero Carbon city by 2030, so it’s vital that we all play our part in protecting the local environment and encouraging greater biodiversity.

To help and support nature, the environment and increase biodiversity, the Council is in the process of modernising how LSSL manage and maintain greenspace by adopting a more ecological and wildlife-friendly approach, by reducing the mowing frequency across the city within our parks, greenspaces, and highways.

The new mowing regime will not affect football pitches, cricket wickets or bowling greens, but instead will consider parks, greenspaces, and highways on a site-by-site basis, reducing frequency of mowing in the right places, a practice already common in many city parks, called ‘Picture Framing’ (where only the outer grass edges are cut on a regular cycle).  It is recognised that routine mowing has a negative effect on wildlife, eliminating habitats, reducing the number of pollinators, and vastly reducing biodiversity.

Benefits of reduced mowing and Picture Framing

Less frequent mowing has many positive impacts on the local environment as well as the people, plants and wildlife that make up our communities. Changes to the mowing regime will help to establish more grassland and wildflower areas, enabling pollinating species like bees, butterflies and other insects and wildlife to flourish, enhancing the ecology of the city, and creating a more attractive and interesting greenspace within the parks and open spaces of the city, at the same time as benefitting the health and wellbeing of the local community.

The new changes will also help reduce the use of herbicides by approximately 55%. Whilst traditionally practical for operational grounds maintenance, for example around the base of trees, bollards etc., it has a negative impact on the health of insects and wildlife. Reduction in spraying will benefit the local ecology greatly.  Reduced mowing also benefits the environment by allowing greater carbon capture, (stored carbon within plants and soils) and fewer carbon emissions, by reducing vehicles and machinery movement across the city, which has a positive impact on improving local air quality and reducing pollution, plus saving money which can be better spent on targeted improvements in parks as well as greenspace infrastructure.

Continued maintenance

Whilst we are adopting this more ecological approach to managed areas of previously mowed grasslands to support biodiversity; flood alleviation, wildlife, and air quality improvements citywide, we will equally continue to maintain access for sports; recreation and leisure pursuits. To allow for this mixed use the proposals include a sliding scale of maintenance options ranging from a 25% to 50% reduction in mown areas, this will be reviewed as the year progresses.