SOMEWHERE WHERE THE GRASS IS GREENER by Harry McAvinchey

 

wildflowers 1

There is much chat about finances , grass-cutting and lack of fuel for same on the radio this past few days .All the commentary about this situation take a negative attitude to this news .Each van is only allowed thirty five litres of fuel and when that petrol or diesel runs out , the vans are required to return to the depots and cut the grass around the depots .Fuel rationing , no less. Of course , as usual, politicians will blame each other and talk about budgets until they are blue in the face. Like most things in Norneverland , the solution is probably a simple one …a bit like the marching situation, but no one wants to listen to the proposed solutions.

There is much hand-wringing about the situation because gullies are not being cleaned out  often enough and flooding may become a problem.Of course , for safety reasons , tall grass at corners has to be cut in case motorists’ vision is impaired , but no thought is given to the effect grass-cutting has on the environment and the eco-systems that are supported by these kerbside grasslands.Almost two thirds of British and Irish  species have declined in the past 50 years and one in 10 faces the risk of extinction according to an extensive study of wildlife .That includes everything from species of hedgehogs, insects , bats , beetles, dragonflies, fish, fleas, fungi, moths, spiders and wasps and birds. Hundreds of species are dropping unnoticed  while local councils argue about money or possibly the misuse of it.

Given that farming monoculture in this past fifty years ,has all but depleted or totally destroyed much wildlife here, many creatures that were at one time native to the land have long-since died away because there are no places other than nooks and corners in fields and roadsides for them to live .

My solution would be to save much of that fuel that is currently used to cut down roadside grass and instead  utilise that money to sow wild flowers on any rough grassland available. Not only will this improve the beauty of the environment and add seasonal colour to the verges , but by doing so will provide shelter for a variety of animals , birds and insects. Wildflowers provide life for a variety of pollinating insects who in turn are a food source for many birds and so on up the chain.

These wildflowers can be mown like meadows in Autumn when the insect population dies back for wintertime. Some  of that fuel and manpower  currently used or fought over for  the task of grass-cutting could be better used on other things.Come the following Springtime the blooms of the widflowers will re-appear in greater profusion and as the years go by they will further replenish themselves by self-seeding. They’ll grow on the poorest soils and require very little input. .It may put the grass-cutters out of business for the most part , but they could be re-utilised elsewhere with a little imagination.

Like most things in Norneverland , there is a shortage of imaginative thinking rather than money or fuel.We’d rather waste the stuff on nonsense.

9 Responses to SOMEWHERE WHERE THE GRASS IS GREENER by Harry McAvinchey

  1. Jim Neeson June 19, 2015 at 11:48 am #

    Excellent idea but before we do this we need a consultant,who will report to a C/tee who will then report again to a Council,who will consult the government Department and they will make a report to the Executive who will say they need a further Consultant who will advise they have no money as it is being used for Policing Marches and Flag disputes.
    This will cost a fortune in Fees. Still an excellent idea

    • paddykool June 19, 2015 at 3:17 pm #

      Yes….Jim.You are absolutely right .I think I’ll go away and lie down in a darkened room with a cup of soothing Punjana…..

  2. paddykool June 19, 2015 at 3:19 pm #

    Ps Jude …fix that “kirbside ” to “kerbside” will you …slippsy !

    • Jude Collins June 19, 2015 at 9:46 pm #

      Done PK

      • paddykool June 19, 2015 at 10:07 pm #

        Ta Jude…

  3. fiosrach June 20, 2015 at 10:40 am #

    A good few years ago, the farming community were awarded a subsidy for ripping out hedges. Like all good farmers the uhh took advantage of it and hedges in small fields that hadn’t been touched for hundreds of years were ripped out. Next came the grant for planting new hedges and all the farmers availed of that but it was too late for the displaced wildlife. Now I am told that EEC acreage figures are determined on the distance from hedge to hedge. Not from the edge of the hedge but from the roots which may be three feet in from the edge. Aerial photography is used and once again wildlife refuges are attacked. Brilliant idea to sow wildflowers but any government agency would ha e to be quick to pick up on it. Just in passing, I note that several hundred thousand pounds,at least, have been spent on upgrading a minor crossroads on the main Dungannon to Cookstown road. The result is very commendable and I wondered why this small rural area was chosen. Then it dawned on me. This had been given the go ahead before the “world class training college” for all aspiring world class police,fire etc was dribbled away by incompetence and indeed it does to that very site. This is just a mile or so from where £150000 was spent on a ridiculous roundabout going into Cookstown. Who takes these decisions?

  4. fiosrach June 20, 2015 at 10:43 am #

    A good few years ago, the farming community were awarded a subsidy for ripping out hedges. Like all good farmers they took advantage of it and hedges in small fields that hadn’t been touched for hundreds of years were ripped out. Next came the grant for planting new hedges and all the farmers availed of that but it was too late for the displaced wildlife. Now I am told that EEC acreage figures are determined on the distance from hedge to hedge. Not from the edge of the hedge but from the roots which may be three feet in from the edge. Aerial photography is used and once again wildlife refuges are attacked. Brilliant idea to sow wildflowers but any government agency would ha e to be quick to pick up on it. Just in passing, I note that several hundred thousand pounds,at least, have been spent on upgrading a minor crossroads on the main Dungannon to Cookstown road. The result is very commendable and I wondered why this small rural area was chosen. Then it dawned on me. This had been given the go ahead before the “world class training college” for all aspiring world class police,fire etc was dribbled away by incompetence and indeed it does lead to that very site. This is just a mile or so from where £150000 was spent on a ridiculous roundabout going into Cookstown. Who takes these decisions?

  5. Séamus Ó Néill June 20, 2015 at 11:46 am #

    A few years ago ,on a small stretch of apparent wasteland running alongside my boundary , I casually flung leftover seeds ( fantastic self seeders like Godetia and Escallonia )….the result was an kaleidoscopic carpet of colour attracting a myriad of wildlife. This little oasis which had lain uncared for ,for years suddenly became noticeable to our local council who promptly dispatched an ” A-Team ” of carcinogenic spraying enthusiasts . Phoning the said council was to no avail…apparently they MUST keep everything prim and proper…..ludicrous and insane.bureaucracy !

    • paddykool June 20, 2015 at 5:51 pm #

      Not for nothing is it called Norneverland , Seamus….