Wednesday, May 24, 2023

The public should pay heed to how they dispose of their grass cuttings, Comeragh Councillors have been advised.  

ANYONE discarding cut grass in a ditch or hedgerow opposite their property is creating a waste issue which Waterford City & County Council can legally pursue, the Council’s Senior Environment Engineer has declared.

Replying to a query by Cllr Liam Brazil (FG) at the Comeragh District’s May meeting on Wednesday last, Gabriel Hynes said it was “important to be clear” about how such cuttings should be handled after mowing.

“Obviously from an environmental point of view, we would encourage mulching or composting of that grass. But if that grass has been discarded outside one’s property, then that grass then becomes a waste – and it is illegal to dump a waste. So there is waste enforcement in relation to that.”

Mr Hynes continued: “So we have to be very clear about that: discarding grass outside of your property then becomes a waste and, as such, it falls under waste enforcement.”

This point was echoed at the District meeting, held in Dungarvan, by Council Senior Executive Engineer, Niall Kane. “If someone is caught doing it, they’re subject to a litter fine, that probably is the best way to handle it as it is a waste. It shouldn’t be discarded in public places.”

Having asked who was responsible for such discarded grass, Cllr Brazil noted: “It’s something you see at this time of the year with grass dumped at the side of the road. I think it’s very unfair on neighbours and people who are acting in a very environmentally friendly way and these other people come along, open their mower and then dump their grass on the side of the road.”

Meanwhile, the question of the ‘first cut’ for sizeable green areas in estates across the Comeragh Area was raised by both Cllr Seanie Power (FG) and Cllr Declan Clune (Ind).

Cllr Power told the meeting: “I’m after getting a few enquiries about grass cutting in housing estates and I’ve been told that the Council is not cutting the grass and that it’s up to the (residents’) committees in the estates to keep them cut there. I know some of the estates like Coolfin Woods (in Portlaw) hasn’t been cut either and it’s like what was said about Tramore lately, you could cut silage off it at this stage and I’m just wondering what the story is with that.”

On a similar vein, Cllr Clune said “the same people who had been onto Cllr Power had been onto” him when it came to Coolfin.

Speaking at the May 17 meeting, he added: “This is actually Council-owned land between three different estates there – Coolfin Woods, Coolfin Meadows and Coolfin Gardens. There’s about 10 and 12 houses in each area. The grass is about two feet high. Traditionally, the Council would always give it the first cut of every year and then the residents would do their best to look after it after that (during the growing season); they’d only have normal, petrol push mowers – they wouldn’t have ride-on (mowers) – the point here is that there seems to be a bit of a consistency between the city and the county areas. There seems to be no issue getting it done in the city but there seems to be in the county. It has always been the way that the first cut would be covered by the Council.”

Cllr Clune continued: “These are small social housing estates, they’re not like the big estates on the Dunmore Road, Hillview or Tycor where there’s a couple of hundred houses…these small estates don’t have the means, even with the Community Grant…but they don’t have the equipment or the funding to do the first cut.”

Aware that the Council’s Roads Department don’t have a budget for such cutting, Cllr Clune asked the Council to look at the issue again. “It needs to be done and it’s taking the whole look off the entrance into the village and there’s an awful lot of good work being done in Portlaw at the moment between the Enhancement Committee, Tidy Towns, etc. This simply too large an area for residents to do and we’re only talking about one cut here so I’d ask the Council to reconsider things and organise a couple of hundred Euro just to get this bit of grass cut.”

In reply, Senior Executive Officer Claire Hartley stated that the Council’s Housing section doesn’t have resources regarding grass cutting. “Where residents’ associations don’t have capacity, we do have to look at some kind of a solution for that so I will take this back to the Tenancy Management Team and we’ll see what we can do.”

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