July 20, 2010
'Don't cut the grass, it's dangerous' says council that stopped cutting grass
A council that stopped cutting grass banks to save money has told residents they should not do it themselves, in case they get hurt.
Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council aims to save £30,000 a year by not cutting steeply-sloping banks.
But council tax payers in the West Midlands town say they have been ordered not to take matters into their own hands on health and safety grounds, even though the verges were turning into "tinderboxes" in the summer heat.
In March the council decided to stop cutting sloping banks borough-wide, meaning such verges have not been cut since last autumn.
Some 350 people from the town's Coldstream Drive area have now signed a petition asking the authority to cut the banks, which they say have become an "appalling mess", choked with litter and weeds.
Angela Davies, a lollipop lady, said: "The council has been cutting this verge for 47 years and there hasn't been an accident yet. I don't know why they think it's so dangerous.
"There is a steep bank outside the council offices and they manage to cut the grass there.
"It's health and safety gone mad."
Carol Weatherall, 48, a hypnotherapist, said neighbours had even bandied together to hire a contractor at a cost of £200 but they had to drop the idea after the council warned against it.
She said: "We want to cut it ourselves but the council have told us it's too dangerous.
"They are scared that we might fall over and sue them. We've even asked if we can pay someone else to do it but the story's the same.
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