Managing Fife’s grassland
During November and December 2020, the Grounds Maintenance Service put forward proposals to manage 10% of the grassland maintained by the Council in a new way. We ran a survey to allow people to share their views on how these areas of grasslands should be maintained.
A total of 1480 responses to the consultation were received from all areas of Fife. Respondents were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with the proposed new method of managing some of the grassland areas in Fife. The Fife-wide results showed an overall positive response, with 65% of respondents agreeing to the proposal.
Why should we change the way we manage our grasslands?
We want to help breathe new life into some of our grasslands and create more natural landscapes. We can also help meet our targets to cut CO2 emissions by at least 40% compared to the1990 baseline level, by 2030. The CO2 emissions that we could save are equivalent to 1,124 car journeys from Kincardine to St Andrews every year.
We know the UK has lost 97% of its flower-rich grassland over the past 70 years. This has resulted in a drastic decline of around two thirds of pollinating insects. Fife is the most heavily cultivated region in Scotland so we can make a difference and give our wildlife more of a chance by changing the way we manage our urban green spaces. Changing the way we manage some of our grasslands is a great opportunity to counteract these declines in local communities.
What are the benefits?
If we reduce intensive grass cutting, we can reduce our carbon emissions. We can provide more diverse spaces where people and communities can connect with nature, improving our health and wellbeing. We can increase biodiversity by creating healthy habitats for birds, insects and small mammals.
How will the grasslands be managed differently?
The seasonal management of the grasslands will change from intensive grass cutting over the summer months to the steps set out below:
- Grass will be allowed to grow throughout the spring and summer
- Wild flowers will emerge and habitats created for wildlife
- The flowers and grass will provide food and shelter for small mammals such as hedgehogs and bats, birds, amphibians and insects
- Paths will be cut through the grass in suitable places for people to enjoy walking, exercise and nature which improves mental health and quality of life.
- In Sept/Oct the grass will be cut and left for 2-3 weeks to allow the seed to disperse ready for the next year
- The grass will then be lifted to remove it as a source of fertility (wildflowers thrive in less fertile conditions) and to keep the area looking tidy
- The harvested grass will then be used for feeding animals, composting and possible conversion to fuel.
From 16 November 2020 until 31 December 2020, we ran an online survey to allow people to share their views on the future of maintained grasslands.
The maps showing the proposed grassland areas and what was agreed for each town and village can be downloaded from the links below:
- Buckhaven, Methil and Wemyss Villages
- Burntisland, Kinghorn and Kirkcaldy West
- Dunfermline Central
- Dunfermline North
- Dunfermline South
- East Neuk and Landward
- Glenrothes Central and Thornton
- Glenrothes North, Leslie and Markinch
- Glenrothes West and Kinglassie
- Howe of Fife and Tay Coast
- Inverkeithing and Dalgety Bay
- Kirkcaldy Central
- Kirkcaldy East
- Kirkcaldy North
- Leven, Kennoway and Largo
- Lochgelly and Cardenden
- St Andrews
- Tay Bridgehead
- West Fife and Coastal Villages
A report collating the feedback from Fife’s communities will inform how the new grasslands management proposals will be implemented.
Ward breakdown of respondents who agreed/disagreed with the new method of managing the grassland in Fife:
|Ward||% agree||% disagree||% don't know|
|1. West Fife and Coastal Villages||47.6||51.9||0.5|
|2. Dunfermline North||85.2||14.8||0.0|
|4. Dunfermline South||75.4||24.6||0.0|
|6. Inverkeithing and Dalgety Bay||97.0||3.0||0.0|
|8. Lochgelly, Cardenden and Benarty||31.5||65.8||2.7|
|9. Burntisland, Kinghorn and Western Kirkcaldy||89.2||8.1||2.7|
|10. Kirkcaldy North||60.0||37.5||2.5|
|11. Kirkcaldy Central||59.5||37.8||2.7|
|12. Kirkcaldy East||87.5||12.5||0.0|
|13. Glenrothes West and Kinglassie||51.5||48.5||0.0|
|14. Glenrothes North, Leslie and Markinch||69.8||30.2||0.0|
|15. Glenrothes Central and Thornton||61.1||30.6||8.3|
|16. Howe of Fife and Tay Coast||78.6||20.0||1.4|
|18. St Andrews||88.9||11.1||0.0|
|19. East Neuk and Landward||59.3||37.0||3.7|
|21. Leven, Kennoway and Largo||73.9||26.1||0.0|
|22. Buckhaven, Methil and Wemyss Villages||62.1||36.2||1.7|
- Ward 21 Leven, Kennoway and Largo – alternative grassland proposals approved.
- Ward 22 Buckhaven, Methil and Wemyss Villages – alternative grassland proposals approved.
- Ward 16 Howe of Fife and Tay Coast - alternative grassland proposals were accepted.
- Ward 17 Tay Bridgehead - alternative grassland proposals were partially accepted. Areas proposed at Gauldry and Victoria Park, Newport will revert to amenity grassland maintenance regime.
- Ward 18 St Andrews - alternative grassland proposals were accepted.
- Ward 19 East Neuk and Landward - alternative grassland proposals were partially accepted. Areas proposed at Pittenweem, Crail’s Roome Bay and Castle Walk will revert to amenity grassland maintenance regime.
- Ward 20 Cupar - alternative grassland proposals were accepted.
- Ward 9 Burntisland, Kinghorn and Western Kirkcaldy - alternative grassland proposals were accepted.
- Ward 10 Kirkcaldy North - alternative grassland proposals were partially accepted, with areas proposed at Duddingston Drive, Kirkcaldy reverting to amenity grassland maintenance regime.
- Ward 11 Kirkcaldy Central - alternative grassland proposals were accepted and noted that further engagement would take place on the area of Rabbit Braes, with the Rabbit Braes Development Group, prior to implementing any changes to grassland management in that area.
- Ward 12 Kirkcaldy East - alternative grassland proposals were accepted.
- Ward 13 Glenrothes West and Kinglassie - alternative grassland proposals were refused. The areas proposed will revert to an amenity grassland maintenance regime.
- Ward 14 Glenrothes North, Leslie and Markinch - alternative grassland proposals were accepted.
- Ward 15 Glenrothes Central and Thornton - alternative grassland proposals were accepted.
- Ward 7 Cowdenbeath – where alternative grassland proposals are not accepted, areas proposed will revert to amenity grassland maintenance regimes.
- Ward 8 Lochgelly, Cardenden and Benarty – where alternative grassland proposals are not accepted, areas proposed will revert to amenity grassland maintenance regimes.
- Ward 1 West Fife and Costal Villages - the alternative grassland proposals were not accepted, and the areas proposed will revert to an amenity grassland maintenance regime.
- Ward 5 Rosyth - there are no alternative grassland proposal for this area and the amenity grassland maintenance regime currently in place will continue.
- Ward 6 Inverkeithing and Dalgety Bay - alternative grassland proposals were accepted.
City of Dunfermline:
- Ward 2 Dunfermline North - alternative grassland proposals were not accepted - existing arrangements to be further discussed with the local community.
- Ward 3 Dunfermline Central - alternative grassland proposals were accepted with the exception of Crossford where existing arrangements are to be further discussed with the local community.
- Ward 4 Dunfermline South - alternative grassland proposals were accepted.
A - Where the proposals were accepted the following management arrangements have been agreed.
Management of proposed sites
‘Cut and collect’ will be the preferred option - this will reduce the fertility and growth of rank grasses. This will allow wildflowers to compete with grass, therefore allowing more wildflowers to flourish creating a botanically diverse meadow. Over time less cutting will be required which will look more attractive and provide good habitat for pollinators.
1 cut and lift per growing season.
Grass path network
A network of access points and pathways will be cut through proposed areas. Consultation on location and width of path network required
Invasive Weed Species
All recognised invasive weed species will be treated as per Service control procedures
14 cuts per growing season
Litter and Fly tipping
Litter and fly tipping will be removed as per current procedures and resource availability
Re-use of grass clippings will be the preferred option where possible.
Awareness of best practice
Provide training/awareness for on-site/ground staff regularly and when new staff employed - to ensure that the management of pollinators is understood, promoted and carried out.
Awareness Programme developed
A - No. the new way of managing the areas of grassland we are discussing will be a cost neutral activity due to the change in operational activity. Any potential reduction in man hours on cutting grass will be targeted to other priority grounds maintenance work.Back To Top
A - Yes, lots of organisations including St Andrews University, St Andrews Botanic Garden, Dundee and Aberdeenshire Councils are taking a similar approach to maintain their grasslands. And several Community organisations and social enterprises are involved in developing new approaches to maintaining their local environments.Back To Top
A - We appreciate the public's concern about ticks. The apparent increase in incidences of ticks across Scotland, is partly due to milder winters and they can be found anywhere from woodland and moorland to parks and gardens. Most tick bites are harmless because only a small proportion of ticks are infected with the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. And if the tick is detected early, it’s very unlikely to transmit the bacteria. Lyme disease can also be treated effectively if detected early.
Nationally, the Scottish Government recognises the physical and mental health benefits of being outdoors and is aiming to get more people outside. Unfortunately, ticks will always be a hazard in the environment and because we can’t remove them, we need to be aware of the risks and take steps to protect ourselves.
Health Protection Scotland and others are working to raise public awareness about Lyme Disease. For information on ticks, how to protect yourself and what to do if bitten go to:
A - Litter will be managed according to our current Street Cleaning procedures. Litter will be removed prior to any grass cutting operations and fly tipping or accumulation of litter will be responded to by local Street Cleansing teams.Back To Top
A - In accordance with current legislation dog owners are responsibility for cleaning-up after their pets. Where serious issues of dog fouling are reported we will ensure that they are investigated by the relevant Council Service. We also hope that by creating wide foot paths through the grass and circulation areas that pet owners will be able to see what their pets are doing and ensure they remove any dog waste.Back To Top
A - We will be looking for alternative uses for the grass collected at the end of the grass cutting season. We are currently researching different ways to convert the grass into a fuel source and identifying opportunities to compost the grass at local sites. The grass could also be reused in Community growing spaces, or the bales could be given away as hay.Back To Top
A -In accordance with DEFRA guidance all notifiable invasive weed species will be managed through our Invasive species management plan.Back To Top
A -These new meadow habitats will encourage small mammals, birds and other wildlife. At periods of grass cutting operations we will operate machinery at a cutting height of 100 mm to limit disturbance. We will also consider staggering the cutting regime to allow areas where small mammals and insects can find sanctuary over the winter months. We will cut in ways to enable wildlife to escape e.g. starting in the centre and working outwards.Back To Top
A - Please check out our bio-diversity starter pack here.Back To Top