Please note that these opinions are my own and not in any way on behalf of my employer or councils in general. Of late there has been a lot of talk on blogs and Twitter about how councils are not doing all they can to make a difference to help the wildlife and nature in general. I just wanted to give my tuppence worth as both a keen naturist and at the same time, an amenity Gardener working for a council.
First off…. Please don’t EVER blame the workers. We have zero control over what grass we do and do not cut, other than on health and safety needs. And even then we have to reschedule or fix any problems up the chain (The biggest one is dog fouling in a garden). We cannot simply leave a plot if it is on our sheets as a job. Please remember that. Us poor workers are just like the worker bees we want to help!
The council isn’t an evil organisation, they are VERY MUCH dependant on the whims of councillors and the public. When its an election year there is a lot more of a push to make the place LOOK good so that the councillors look good by being seen to do things to make the place LOOK better. If they only gave us the money and resources to actually do it!
Also… You have to also understand that the general public only cares about ‘nice’… How the place looks and not much more. As long as everything is pretty they don’t care. Grass can’t be longer than about 2″. Oh, and anything that isn’t planted specifically is a weed and must go. The most annoying thing is that sometimes council plots are cut by people who are NOT council workers. It’s amazing how many plots get cut by the general public in the hopes of making it better. In a general thing this is great. But then the grass is not theirs and we have to still keep it to a standard. When you are expecting others to cut it (Like they did the last 10 times) they suddenly don’t and its OUR fault it’s not cut.
TL:DR… It’s mainly down to the public, not us.
On the flip side… Please understand that the council is actually doing an AMAZING job keeping the place as good as it is. Considering the money and resources we have in the Council I work for you would be shocked to find what little is actually spent on grounds maintenance!
The Council is not deaf to the pleas of those of us that want to help nature. But you NEED to talk to your councillors. Tell them how you feel and what you want. If more people told them to leave more areas open to wildlife you can bet your bottom dollar they will do it. So get out there and write a letter, tweet them, phone them… Ask to speak to them. Nothing will happen unless people like us actually make ourselves heard. If enough people ask for the same thing then things will happen.
Democracy does work!