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Grasslands consultation

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.

Fife-wide Consultation 

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 the 1990 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:

  1. Grass will be allowed to grow throughout the spring and summer
  1. Wildflowers will emerge and habitats created for wildlife
  1. The flowers and grass will provide food and shelter for small mammals such as hedgehogs and bats, birds, amphibians and insects
  1. 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.
  1. 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
  1. 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
  1. The harvested grass will then be used for feeding animals, composting and possibly 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:

A report collating the feedback from Fife’s communities will inform how the new grassland management proposals will be implemented.