Environment & Landscaping in your Parish

If you think there is an area in your part of the Parish which could benefit from a ‘clean-up’ day let us know.

Shenley Brook End & Tattenhoe Parish Council Landscaping

Shenley Brook End Parish Council have taken on the responsibility from Milton Keynes Council for landscaping within SBE-PC. This maintenance includes grass cutting, shrub beds maintenance, hedges, woodlands and Local Parks. Your Environmental Team are determined to give you a high level quality standard of landscape maintenance and will be looking to continuously improve SBE-PC with the help and support of you, the residents.

 FAQs:

When will the grass be cut?
Between the end of March and the end of October the grass will be cut approximately once every 2/3 weeks, although this may be varied subject to weather conditions and the length of the grass.

Can grass cuttings be removed?
Unfortunately, we cannot remove grass cuttings as the cost of collecting and transporting grass plus the specialist machinery needed would be both time consuming and expensive. Although all arising should be removed from footpaths by our Environmental Team.

Why are certain areas of verge grass and open space not cut while other areas are?
Locations where grass areas have been planted with bulbs e.g. Daffodils and Crocus will not be cut back until the leaves have started to die back, usually 6-8 weeks after flowering. This is good landscaping practice as it ensures bulbs will produce flowers the following year. Unfortunately these areas can become untidy in the interim.

Why are you cutting the grass when it’s wet?
Grass cutting is too large a scale operation to only proceed in optimum conditions, although it will be suspended in wet conditions when the likelihood of causing damage or operator safety outweighs the cutting priorities.

Why do you let the grass grow to different lengths in some areas?

This encourages the return of wild flora and fauna to our open spaces.  Also land use can help determine how long grass should be, for example more formal areas require shorter grass.

Spraying/weed control
Herbicides are used mainly for weed control in planted beds. Where possible we will restrict the use of chemicals. However the cost of employing significant levels of staff to carry out the work manually would be cost prohibitive.

Coppicing
Coppicing is the process of cutting back woody plants to approximately 100-150mm (4-6 inches) above ground level and allowing the stump or stool to re-grow. Most coppicing is carried out in the dormant season as the plants quickly re-grow when spring arrives.

I know the shrubs will grow again but what about my security/privacy?
Landscape plantings are designed and planted to soften the built environment rather than to act as a security or privacy barrier. Plants are living, ever-changing organisms and consequently do not have the static qualities, such as those of a fence, required for such a purpose.

Can you cut the shrubs back near my house as they collect dust and I believe they’re contributing to my asthma?
If anything the opposite will be true. Air quality is normally improved around trees, shrubs and grass. Leaves filter the air we breathe by removing dust and other particulates.

When are hedges cut back? 
Hedges are cut back on an annual basis, although hedgerow maintenance is restricted by law. Therefore if a hedgerow is believed to be the home to nesting birds, we will be unable to carry out works until the birds have vacated. Usually this period is between the months of April – July.

Do Shenley Brook End undertake tree maintenance?
We will crown-lift tree branches above 2m on footways and 5m on highways. Under the terms of the contract agreement with MKC. Any other tree works and inspections will be carried out by Milton Keynes Council who have responsibility for all trees in SBE-PC.

Further Information

If you would like to check if an area is part of the Shenley Brook End Parish Council landscaping contract,

The council’s mapping system “My MK”  can show which land is maintained by SBE-PC and the Parks Trust or the Council.

Information on tree maintenance by Milton Keynes Council can be found here.
Email: environmentalservices@milton-keynes.gov.uk        
MKC Environmental Services:  01908 252570

Ride-On Operation

SBEPC Estates are mown on a cyclic program between March and November.  The schedules are arranged to match the expected growing pattern of the grass and any specific management requirements for biodiversity, expected public use and highway safety.

Schedules can be delayed by public holidays and bad weather

Persistent rain can cause the ground to become too soft, leading to a risk of the ride-on mower becoming bogged, rutting and damaging the surface.  We are sometimes required to divert the crews away from their planned routes, or even suspend an operation entirely, recovering it later.  Mowing is also suspended during periods of prolonged dry weather.  The schedules can therefore be subject to sudden and radical alteration in response to environmental conditions.

Grass Cutting Schedule

Winter Shrub Maintenance

The Winter Landscape Maintenance Schedule shows the estates & dates, when the winter pruning will be undertaken within SBE-PC

This is subject to change for the following:

  • Some areas may take longer or be undertaken quicker than shown.
  • Weather conditions, such as snow, may suspend the operation.  Equally very wet conditions may mean that there is no access for the machinery.  High winds and other extreme weather conditions may mean that the landscape resources are diverted to deal with emergencies such as clearing snowfall or removing broken branches and fallen trees.

Not all trees, shrubs and hedges require an annual prune.  Some operations, such as coppicing, where the planting is cut back for horticultural purposes (to allow the planting to regenerate and make new growth) may be many years apart.

 Winter Shrub Maintenance Schedule.

Clean Up Days

This year we have seen successful events in which residents, local schools and organisations, the Parish Council and Milton Keynes Council staff have jointly carried out ‘clean-up’ days promoting the ‘Pride in where you live’ theme. Two of these events have been featured in Community News and on videos which can be seen on YouTube.

If you think there is an area in your part of the Parish which could benefit from a ‘clean-up’ day let us know. Contact us today

Wayne

Environmental Services Manager

Dave

Environmental Services Officer

David

Environmental Services Officer

Michele

Environmental Services Officer

Scott

Environmental Services Officer

AJ

Environmental Services Officer

Oliver

Allotment and Play park Officer

Play areas are regularly checked for damaged equipment, dog fouling, litter and anti-social behaviour. All this is carefully logged and where they cannot deal with the issue, pass the information to other agencies for action, making sure that such reports are followed up and dealt with.

If you have a problem, comment or want to pass on information, they are there to help, so please make use of their services. You can email the Parish office on:-

reportit@shenleybrookend-pc.gov.uk

A Load of Old Rubbish - or Everyone's Responsibility?

We are told day after day by politicians and the media that one of our top priorities is saving the planet. We are bombarded with television programmes and our children are given lessons in school about the environment and endangered species. We are exhorted by all and sundry to recycle or we will all disappear under a mountain of garbage.

Yet what do we see all around us, on our redways, our streets, even in our parks and open spaces? Discarded beer and fizzy drinks bottles, fast food packaging, empty and half empty cans of beer and cider, cartons, crisp packets, cigarette packets and much worse! These are often most noticeable on the routes from the local shops to the nearby schools. Why, if we and our children are so concerned about the environment, do we desecrate it day after day when it would be so easy to put our litter in the nearest litter bin, of which there are many around the Parish? Why are the schools not driving home the message to pupils that dropping litter is anti-social?

My wife and I walk most days from our home in Kingsmead, along the redway to Westcroft to pick up a newspaper, a distance of about three quarters of a mile. For some time now it has been our practice to take a couple of plastic bags with us and collect the litter we find along the way. Day after day we collect at least two bags full. Lately we have found it necessary to take three or four bags and they still get filled. The picture above shows what we collected on one such trip recently and it is fairly typical. Believe it or not some of this litter was actually collected from immediately outside people’s front doors. Do we have no pride in the appearance of our neighbourhoods any more?  One person I know rebuked her daughter for dropping litter. The reply was that if she took it home she would be doing someone out of a job! If everyone took an empty supermarket bag and picked up the rubbish that they can see then the footpaths will be much more pleasant to walk along. Since we moved to Milton Keynes over ten years ago we have noticed sadly that the litter has increased in volume. We have a daughter in America and when we visit her we are always amazed by the lack of rubbish on the streets and verges. The contrast between there and here is salutary. We are too fond of saying “Someone should do something about it” but we are that “someone” and it is up to all of us to keep the Parish clean and tidy.

Our Environmental Services Team are doing a great job. When notified of the numerous bundles of local newspapers tossed into the ditches, they remove them as soon as possible. They also arrange to have graffiti cleaned up but they can’t be expected to pick up every can, bottle or empty crisp packet. That is for us to do and to encourage our children to bring their ’empties’ home, or put them in the nearest litter bin.

Grumpy Old Man