Mobile navigation

Encouraging wildlife and biodiversity in parks and open spaces

Following on from successful trials we will now be extending our new approach to grassland management over the next 3 years.

Grow Wild for Perth & Kinross

Following successful grassland management trials (opens new window) undertaken from 2021 - 2023 across 45 sites, we will be extending this new approach over the next 3 years as part of the 'Grow Wild' campaign.  From 2024 onwards we will begin rolling this out to Perth and the surrounding area (opens new window).  This will allow the development of a sustainable long-term action plan, supporting up to 1700 of the 1900 sites which we currently maintain across Perth and Kinross.

What changes will take place?

As part of our commitment to protect and enhance our environment we've begun to make some noticeable changes as to how we maintain our parks and amenity areas.  We've taken immediate climate action by ceasing all chemical and mechanical methods of grass control around all trees and obstacles such as spraying and strimming around litter bins.  

The next visible change will be to reduce the frequency of grass cutting in some areas and create nature networks to encourage pollination and other wildlife.  Maintenance of perimeters adjacent to roads, paths and housing will continue with paths mown through these areas to allow for dog walking and those who wish to experience the natural environment.

A flexible approach will be taken when managing the project as we cannot be certain what will and won't grow in the Grow Wild areas, therefore monitoring of sites will be essential.  It is hoped that over time, many of these areas will be planted with fruit and native trees to further encourage insects and birds, while providing corridors to connect nature.

 

Encouraging biodiversity in parks and open spaces 

Signage will be installed at each large site where the Grow Wild approach is in place to keep you informed of the changes in our parks and open spaces.  Different approaches will be taken at different sites based on what sustainable method will best suit the landscape and enhance biodiversity.  This could include 'cut and lift', where there is one annual cut and the clippings removed to mimic traditional hay meadows, or 'cut and leave', where the clippings from the annual cut are left and lawn species can grow such as daisies and buttercups.

Each site will either continue to have a regular amenity cut or receive a mixture of the maintenance methods listed below.

  • 'No Mow' Areas - We will leave the main body of grass uncut while mowing desire lines for paths where appropriate.
  • Amenity Cut - Some open spaces will continue to have the grass cut regularly, although we will no longer be cutting around trees or strimming edges.
  • Cut and lift areas - We will leave the main body of grass uncut for the growing season with a single cut and lift between September and October.
  • Existing long grass areas - There will be no maintenance within these areas, however, we'll ensure that path and road edges receive a mowers width cut alongside.
  • Bulb Areas - Once the bulbs have died back, areas containing bulbs will be cut and the grass lifted once per year.
  • Wildflower areas - To be cut back once per year.  Weeds will be removed by hand or via a chemical method if invasive weeds are in the area.
  • There will be a reduction of weed control within our sites with invasive weeds being spot treated where required.
  • Leaf fall will be displaced onto biodiversity areas and left to naturally mulch.
  • Service strips (areas containing underground services such as BT cables) will now be cut less frequently with a relaxed mowing schedule.
  • We will continue to cut around fence lines within our open spaces.

 

Working in partnership with our communities

We'll be working closely with communities to ensure spaces remain fit for community use while maximising opportunities for biodiversity.  There'll be opportunities for communities to help us implement changes, maintain areas, enhance biodiversity and plant pollinators, while extending the Grow Wild approach to further sites where appropriate.

You can help by getting involved in our wildlife and biodiversity monitoring (opens new window) or by looking after Grow Wild sites in your area by signing up to one of the many volunteer groups managed by the Community Greenspace team.  In these small ways we hope to build a more sustainable and biodiverse world for future generations.

 

How to get involved

Monitoring the flora and fauna (PDF) [7MB] at our Grow Wild sites is essential in helping us understand how best to manage each area and will help us decide on maintenance regimes which are best suited for each landscape.

To that end, we're once again looking for volunteers to help carry out this important task.  All that's required from you, is to visit a site once a month on a nice dry day and spend a bit of time completing our Grow Wild monitoring app (opens new window) noting any wildflowers, insects, litter and so on in both the cut and uncut areas.  Our  Grow Wild survey record sheet (PDF) [298KB]  along with helpful guidance (PDF) [115KB]  can also be downloaded and emailed back to GMContracts@pkc.gov.uk.

If you are keen on getting involved in enhancing Grow Wild sites for biodiversity, there are many active groups (opens new window) across Perth and Kinross that you can volunteer with.  You can sign up by emailing communitygreenspace@pkc.gov.uk.

Your views matter

Our open spaces are for everyone to enjoy so it's important that all views are taken into consideration.  We have published a Grow Wild grassland management survey (opens new window) which will allow everyone to share their feedback on the Grow Wild initiative, suggest additional sites and to sign up for wildlife monitoring and community volunteering opportunities.

We will review the survey responses regularly to look for new ideas which we can implement on our sites.  It is envisioned that the Grow Wild areas will increase over time based on wildlife monitoring and feedback from the surveys.

FAQ's

Which sites are being considered?

We're looking at improving biodiversity at all our maintained open spaces while ensuring that there's no impact on amenity areas such as sports pitches, formal and informal play areas, picnic areas, event spaces and paths for active recreation.  Our Grounds Maintenance teams will be recommending sites based on their knowledge of suitable areas.  If you have any recommendations, please do not hesitate to let us know using our Grow Wild grassland management survey (opens new window).

During 2024 we'll be adding Grow Wild areas around Perth, from Stanley to Glenfarg and Abernethy and from Methven and Forteviot to Invergowrie.  You can view all the areas involved on our map (PDF) [559KB] .  We'll then be rolling out more sites into other areas across Perth and Kinross over the next 2 years. 

What if I don't like the way the grass is being cut near me?

Our open spaces are for everyone to enjoy so it's important that all views are taken into consideration, however, in order to ensure we are doing the best we can for both climate change and the community, changes to maintenance must be implemented.  We have provided a survey (opens new window) which will allow everyone to share their feedback on the Grow Wild initiative and suggest additional sites. We will regularly review the survey responses to look for new ideas which we can implement within each site.

Is Grow Wild a cost saving method?

The grassland management trials which we carried out in 2021 and 2022 have already demonstrated that reduced grass cutting can help reduce carbon emissions, provide more biodiverse and interesting open spaces which can improve physical and mental wellbeing, whilst also reducing maintenance costs.  Please visit the results of our  2022 consultation (opens new window) which demonstrates the positive response we received from residents all across Perth & Kinross.  Using the results from the 2022/23 wildlife monitoring carried out by volunteers at the trial sites, our Biodiversity Officer produced a discussion paper (PDF) [7MB] which provides an in-depth look at the survey data collected.

How can I get involved?

There are many activities to get involved with, including bulb, wildflower and pollinator shrub planting.  We also offer the opportunity to be trained in the use of our 'cut and lift' machinery which groups and communities can borrow to care for the biodiversity areas near them.  There's also help and support available to guide and recommend best practice.  If you are interested in getting involved, please contact communitygreenspace@pkc.gov.uk

If you're looking for an active community group in your area, please visit our Community Projects and Groups map which details the many groups within Perth and Kinross having a focus on climate change and our environment.  

Will I be able to walk through Grow Wild areas?

Desire lines for paths will be cut through long grass areas in suitable places for people to enjoy walking, exercise and nature which improves mental health and quality of life.  We will ensure these areas do not hinder the accessibility of our greenspaces. 

Will the Grow Wild areas attract litter and hide dog fouling?

We'll continue to manage litter within the Environmental Protection Act, however, if you notice any litter building up please report this via our website.   

In accordance with current legislation dog owners are responsible 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. 

Will the Grow Wild areas increase the risk of 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 causes Lyme disease.  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.  Please be aware of the risks and take steps to protect yourselves.  If you would like further information about ticks and how to remove them, please see the link for NHS guidance (opens new window).

Will invasive species be left to grow within these areas?

In accordance with SEPA guidance (opens new window) all notifiable invasive weed species will be managed. 

Details of 2021 and 2022 grassland management trials.

Our alternative grassland management trials began in 2021 at a limited number of sites, this list was further extended as we developed our 'Managed for Wildlife' campaign in 2022.

Last modified on 07 June 2024

Share this page

Facebook icon Twitter icon email icon

Print

print icon