The Environmental Care Operations team maintains most of the green spaces in the borough including sport pitches, open spaces, play areas, road side verges and the Worting Road Cemetery. In addition to this the team plants and maintains floral displays, shrubs and hedges.
All the staff are required to operate all machinery in a safe and appropriate manner and have been appropriately trained to LANTRA standard.
In 2010 Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council won the High Silver Gilt for South and South East in Bloom and received Green Flags for The War Memorial Park and Eastrop Park.
The council is responsible for mowing over 6 million m² - equivalent to cutting over 1,000 football pitches. Most general open space is cut about 13 times a year from mid March to the end of October. This is dependent on the weather and ground conditions, for example in hot and dry summers the grass grows slower requiring fewer cuts. Rough grass areas such as the verges on ring roads are cut six times a year.
We do not cut grass that is:
- privately owned
- on properties/estates not owned by the council
- outside of the Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council boundary
We are restricted by the elements and some cutting may not run to schedule. Extended dry weather may make cutting unnecessary. And using mowers on very wet land can create mess and damage the sward of the grass. However, due to the large area of grass being maintained it is sometimes necessary for mowing to continue during wet weather. Although, for health and safety reasons, grass cutting to banks may not be carried out if the ground is wet. Areas that have been cut during wet weather may appear to be churned up afterwards. This is usually superficial and the grass will normally recover within 48 hours.
Most grass in residential areas and adjacent to the highway is cut by a ride-on mower. Some areas of grass are cut by pedestrian hand mower and these will sometimes be cut separately.
Shrubs and hedges
These are cut back once a year during the winter. At all other times of the year a response team is available to deal with overgrown footpaths and sight line problems. To report a problem please contact 01256 844844 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Hedge cutting doesn't take place from mid-March to mid-summer due to nesting birds unless there are health and safety reasons such as impeded sight lines or risk of harm to pedestrians. An environmental audit will take place where hedges need to be cut back in these instances to make sure that wild life is not adversely affected.
Basingstoke and Deane uses non-residual herbicide and mulching techniques to control weeds in soft landscape areas. We arrange the chemical control of weeds to highway surfaces on behalf of Hampshire County Council. Two applications are applied per year. The chemical used is Roundup Pro, the active ingredient of which is Glyphosate. This is a non-toxic product that does not harm pets or wildlife. All our operatives and contractors are qualified to National Proficiency Testing Council standard.
Flower beds, hanging baskets, towers and other planters can be seen throughout Basingstoke. These provide colourful seasonal displays and our team take great pride in their maintenance.
Over the years the council has planted thousands of spring flowering bulbs, such as crocus and daffodils, throughout the borough. Most of these bulbs are planted in drifts providing a beautiful display of colour during early spring.
After the blooms have faded the grass is left uncut to allow the leaves to continue to photosynthesize and then die back naturally returning energy to the bulb ready for flowering again the following year. The grass in these areas will get longer than in the surrounding areas and will only be cut and removed in June. This has the added benefit of allowing early flowering wild flowers to flourish in these areas boosting the borough’s biodiversity.
As part of our biodiversity action plan a number of verges and areas around the borough are left uncut. This allows rare wildflowers, such as orchids, to flourish and provides food for a variety of insects. These areas are cut once in the late summer/autumn to prevent course grasses from taking over. They include:
- Tollhouse Meadow, Chineham
- Crabtree Plantation
- Down Grange Meadow
- Old Down
- The Knowlings
- Bere Hill
- Wildlife Area, Eastrop Park
- The Lip, War Memorial Park
- The Mill Field
- Garrett Close, Kingsclere
What is the impact of climate change?
Climate change has increased the growing season by 24 days in the last 30 years. Increased CO², rising temperatures and excessive rainfall has and will continue to expedite grass growth. By 2020, a low forecast of 1° annual increase in temperatures is expected to extend the growing season for lawns by a further two to three weeks.