It is not acceptable to expect residents in Galway City Council managed estates to dispose of their own grass cuttings and then have to pay for it says Fianna Fáil councillor Alan Cheevers.
Cllr Cheevers' comments come following the launch of the local authority's Greener Green Waste Initiative.
The initiative says the council will now be providing a grass cutting service which involves mulching; a process of placing garden waste such as grass clippings, leaves, and pruning material in thin layers on the soil to break down naturally.
The local authority has asked members of the public not to collect the grass cuttings, however, should citizens do so, they will have to dispose of the cuttings correctly and no cost associated by this will borne by the council.
Cllr Cheevers believes the initiative is a dilution of the grass cutting services offered by the council and residents should not be expected to incur the expense.
He said; "The initiative states when the council cuts grass or bushes after pruning, that it’s the responsible of the residents to dispose of it at their expense. This is just another way of diluting services for residents. I believe many residents in council managed estates are on low income and can’t be expected to incur this expense.
"I believe the city council parks department need to be show more initiative and look at an initiative on how they take away the grass clippings and cuttings to a location for composting. We currently have council managed estates around the city where the grass is being cut and left there, it maybe a health and safety issue.
"I also believe that it’s not going to look good; brown pitches and grass areas around the city from grass that is not collected. I think the parks department need to readdress this initiative and come up with a better solution."
A spokesperson for the city council said the initiative ties in with the local authority's biodiversity plan and the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan and while the council appreciates the efforts of members of the public in keeping their local areas clean and tidy, the cutting of shrubbery and grass has impacted on wildlife.
He said; "Galway city is fortunate to have many beautiful natural areas and it is vital that these areas are protected, enhanced and conserved. The Galway City Council acknowledges the efforts from members of the public in Galway city in taking pride in maintaining and keeping their local areas clean and tidy while enhancing biodiversity. As part of the Tidy Towns Initiative, many residents’ groups undertake additional activities on public lands such as collecting grass and pruning shrubs. Unfortunately this results in a natural product turning into a waste product which has to be disposed of.
"The parks department have witnessed cutting back of shrubbery during the bird nesting season and the cutting of grass very short thereby eliminating many species that attract bees, such as orchids."