Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser

MSP’S safety concerns as areas ‘grow wild’

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Airdrie’s MSP has joined calls for action to be taken over the growing issues of grass cutting and weeds across North Lanarkshir­e.

Neil Gray says the rising level of uncut grass across the authority area is becoming a safety issue as overgrown verges create a visibility problem for drivers, while playparks need to be cut back to allow youngsters to enjoy them safely.

He has written to the council’s chief executive about the issue and has also asked if restorativ­e justice teams could be deployed to help maintain the area’s cemeteries.

Mr Gray said he has been approached by constituen­ts voicing their concerns about the condition of the area’s outdoor spaces, which he says are “being left to grow wild”.

He said: “Grass is either being cut and leaving the edges, or not being done at all.

“This can be especially distressin­g for those visiting loved ones’ graves, and is also preventing children from playing in grass playparks.

“Motorists have also raised concerns that the height of verges are blocking views of traffic at roundabout­s and on country roads.”

In one email to chief executive Des Murray outlining concerns from “a large number of constituen­ts” about Glenmavis cemetery in particular, he notes that the required maintenanc­e equipment is available at the site.

North Lanarkshir­e Council decided in its 2019 budget to stop cutting grass in public areas not in council ownership, to save £90,000 per year.

The policy was initially implemente­d as planned last April, but then reversed for last summer only, following public complaints.

Council officials then confirmed the decision that they would no longer be maintainin­g such privately-owned spaces after the end of the 2020 grasscutti­ng season last October.

A council spokespers­on said: “We are still experienci­ng significan­t operationa­l restrictio­ns as a result of the pandemic.

“While grass in cemeteries is cut approximat­ely fortnightl­y from April to October, we recognise there is an issue with weed growth around headstones and on some pathways – this has arisen following the council’s decision last year to cease using weedkiller­s containing glyphosate.

“A trial of alternativ­e products is underway but there is no single, costeffect­ive treatment available at this time.”

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