"Perfect storm" of weather conditions challenges council teams

Council green space teams on tight budgets say they are struggling to keep on top of grass growth following "a perfect storm" of weather conditions.

One team issued an apology to local residents this week after admitting it has a "real problem" keeping up with grass growth because of the conditions.

The combination of a very wet but mild winter and a warm spring interspersed with downpours has resulted in grass and weeds growing far quicker than it would normally but resources are tight, Havant Borough Council in Hampshire said.

Staff who are responsible for managing the grass cutting said that the current situation is the worst it’s been for many years with a ‘perfect storm’ of conditions to hamper maintenance programmes.

Operational services manager Peter Vince, said: "The grass cutting programme is usually different every year because of the weather conditions and we have to be as flexible as possible.

"However, this year it is a real problem matching our resources with the timing of the cuts required.  We can only apologise to residents if they notice that areas do not look as tidy as they would normally do. We are working hard to get the service back on track."

Currently Havant Borough Council cuts grass verges on behalf of Hampshire County Council nine times a year in the borough, six of which are funded by the County Council

Councillor Tony Briggs, responsible for operational services said: "Residents can be assured that all resources are being put into this matter."

Elsewhere contractors are finding the extra grass growth impacts their bottom line.

Jon O’Conner teams have swung into action to tackle the rapid growth on the company contracts, which include St Albans City and District Council, Harpenden Town Council and Sandridge Parish Council.

Operations director, Neil Cain said: "We have been co-ordinating overtime in the evenings and weekend to achieve satisfactory maintenance standards. This means an impact on the business with respect to labour, machinery and van running costs."

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