Updates to Grounds Maintenance and Street Cleaning service

Updated Tuesday 5 May 2020

Grass cutting to resume in priority areas only

Essential grass cutting tasks are being reinstated on a prioritised basis by West Lothian Council following the COVID-19 outbreak.

The work is being undertaken to protect key open space assets, with a number of other councils in Scotland carrying out similar work.

Ground Maintenance was not considered as a key service during the initial lockdown process and many staff members were either redeployed to other essential service areas or are self-isolating.  However the council has inspected a number of its open spaces and believes it is important that some grass cutting and other essential maintenance tasks are reinstated on a phased basis as soon as possible.

The main reason to reinstate grass cutting in some areas is to ensure minimal maintenance is carried out to prevent irretrievable asset deterioration. 

Maintenance will resume on council owned golf courses and bowling greens, school grounds, football pitches and large parks, roadside verges and other large grass areas across West Lothian.

All cutting will be carried out in line with guidance on social distancing to protect staff and members of the public.

The council has stressed that this is not a complete return to normal standards.

Jim Jack, Head of Operational Services explained: "Open spaces are council assets that have to be attended to ensure that they do not deteriorate beyond our ability to recover them when we return to normal maintenance regimes. We will be carrying out basic tasks only.

"This is a considered decision and is by no means a return to normal maintenance regimes or standards. If any more cutting cycles are missed this year, the scale of the reinstatement works required could not be achieved without considerable additional resources, which the council does not have available."

He added: "It's important to remember that we're not reinstating basic maintenance on football pitches etc to encourage their use at the current time.

"The national guidance around social distancing continues and cut grass on sports facilities and schools must not be seen an indication that the services are open or that people should use them.

"This is purely a measure we're taking to protect our assets, and to ensure that they are in a good condition when we are able to use them again. Until then, members of the public must continue to adhere to the social distancing guidance."

The council will put measures in place to ensure that the service is delivered in line with guidance on social distancing for staff and members of the public.

Weed management operations remain suspended, but will reviewed on a weekly basis, with a limited service an option where essential. The staff recruited for the Garden Maintenance Scheme, which was due to start on 6 April, have been re-deployed in Waste Services and the scheme remains suspended.

The council's Grounds Maintenance and Street Cleaning service has been suspended.

The council has reduced staffing levels and has moved to ensure that adequate numbers of staff are moved into other service areas such as Waste Collection services. Currently the Waste Collection service continues as normal.

Thank you for your continued support and understanding.