Call to keep grass out of South Ribble's gutters

Residents might want grass cuttings cleared from gutters and pavements - but would they be willing to pay?
Residents might want grass cuttings cleared from gutters and pavements - but would they be willing to pay?

South Ribble residents would be forced to pay if they wanted the borough’s pavements cleared of grass cuttings - and the deputy leader of the authority does not think they would be willing.

But Caroline Moon acknowledged the frustration caused by the clippings and told a meeting of the full council she was seeking a “middle ground” on the issue.

Liberal Democrat Harold Hancock said the mess left behind after cutting “gets washed into the drains, leading to flooding”. He demanded that the grass is either collected as it is cut or that a road sweeper follows on later.

Cllr Moon said she shared his frustration, but warned of the cost of moving to a cleaner method of mowing.

“We are on a cut and drop system, not cut and collect,” Cllr Moon said. “Cut and collect would be lovely, but we would have to quadruple the bill.

“But it is something I’m genuinely looking at, because it creates a whole load of mess - not just for for people walking, but also mobility scooters and prams.

“So, in an ideal world, we would cut and collect - but do the residents of South Ribble want to pay for [that] service? No.

“But I’m sure there has to be a middle ground somewhere,” Cllr Moon added.

The Conservative-run authority maintains many of the grass verges in the borough, as part of a contractual arrangement with Lancashire County Council, which is ultimately responsible for them.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Moon said she was investigating the possibility of having cuttings blown back onto the verges, but again warned that it was a costly option.

Cllr Hancock also asked whether residents who emptied their own garden waste into the gutters were guilty of fly-tipping.

Cllr Moon said she would have to investigate the legal position, but hoped people would be responsible in how they chose to dispose of their rubbish.

South Ribble Borough Council introduced a charge for the collection of garden waste back in April. Residents now have to pay an annual £30 charge if they want to have their brown bins emptied by the authority.