Environment

INTRODUCTION

The Council is responsible for a number of services directly connected to the environment. Most of these services are provided through the vehicle of a Partnership Agreement between the Council and Northumberland County Council

This partnership was formed to enhance the level of neighbourhood services provided to residents in Seaton Valley. The agreement includes clear guidelines on the aims to be achieved and the levels of service expected, for example, Bus Shelters are washed once a month, grass is now cut at least 24 times during the growing season and footpath edging is completed annually as part of a winter maintenance program.

A very welcome by-product of the Partnership has been the creation of several permanent full-time posts and two apprenticeships giving Seaton Valley its own dedicated team of workers delivering high quality value for money services.

Further details on each of the individual elements of service is provided below

GRASS CUTTING

Seaton Valley Council is responsible for the grass cutting of all public grassed areas other than the grassed areas within former Council Housing estates which Homes for Northumberland  now manage.

The grassed areas are maintained to a high standard to enable residents and visitors to use the roads and pavements safely. We aim to cut the grass between 24 – 36 times during the period between 1st March and 31st October and  on an as and when required basis outside of this time period.

Frequently asked questions:

Why are the cuttings not removed after the grass has been cut?

The cuttings after mowing are not collected as this would need extra staff at a cost and although at the beginning of the grass cutting period there seems excessive amounts this decreases considerably as all areas are cut regularly the grass does not grow very long, so leaving the cuttings doesn’t usually cause problems.

Why does the grass around obstacles not get cut when the grass is cut.

On some grassed areas our mowers aren’t able to cut close enough to trees and bases of obstacles so we apply an approved herbicide around trees and obstacles, usually twice each year. In some cases, depending on the weather, the effect of the herbicide does not last as long as usual so we may do some strimming as well. We try not to strim round the base of trees too much as it can damage the bark and even kill the tree in some cases.

When the daffodils are finished they are left to look untidy, why?

After the spring bulbs some grassed areas can look untidy, as it is good practice not to cut down the foliage of faded flowering bulbs. They should be left for around six weeks after flowering. This allows them to produce new bulbs the following year. We mow around the bulb areas until they have died back, usually around the middle of June.

The mowers start working early in the morning and are noisy. Can’t it be done later in the day?

We do sometimes start the mowing work early in the day before the public areas become busy. It reduces safety risks to members of the public. Some areas have to be cut early to be ready for people to use throughout the day.

Why do you cut the grass in the rain?

We have a lot of grass to cut and a very tight schedule. Unless conditions are very bad we cut the grass in all weathers. Grass is very resilient and quickly recovers from minor smearing or surface damage.

Please let us know if you have any concerns or comments with the grass cutting in your area.

STREET LITTER BINS

Litter can range in size from a sweet wrapper to a black bag full of rubbish, which when left in a public place can be unsightly, dangerous to animals and a health risk.

The Environmental Protection Act of 1990 states that if a person drops, throws, deposits, or leaves anything that causes defacement in a public place; they are committing a littering offence. So always try to use a litter bin or take your litter home.

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To ensure that the bins in Seaton Valley are maintained to a high standard all bins are emptied regularly in accordance with an agreed schedule. With approximately 150 bins in Seaton Valley, each bin is emptied at least once per week and daily if the bin is found to be located in an area identified as high priority. One of our aims is to repair or replace any damaged bin reported to us within 10 working days and to deal with an overflowing bin with 48hrs.

As Dog Fouling has been highlighted as an issue by many of Seaton Valley Residents, the litter bins in Seaton Valley can take both bagged dog waste and litter. It is every dog owner’s responsibility to clear up after their pet, please be mindful of this – remember  ‘bag it and bin it’.

 

Please let us know if you discover any of the following:

  • Vandalism or wear and tear of a bin,
  • Over flowing bins
  • Bins that are not being emptied regularly

Or if you think that a litter bin is required in a specific location – again let us know.

When reporting a  problem with a bin please give us the detail of your concern, the location of the bin and the number of the bin which can be found on the information sticker on each bin.

OVERHANGING TREES/UNSIGHTLY SHRUB BEDS/WEEDS

We try to maintain the shrub beds throughout the Valley to a good standard but sometimes things don’t go to plan and as a result some shrub beds can become unsightly if not tended correctly or in accordance with scheduled visits. If this situation arises we need to know so please get in touch if you feel that any shrub beds near you are getting out of hand. We may not respond immediately but the matter will be reported to the Partnership Team and they will attend to the matter as soon as they are able to.

Similarly there are occasions when trees on Council land overhang into residents gardens and we recognise that this can be a nuisance for the residents concerned. Where this does happen, please get in touch and we will ensure that the ‘Team’ are made aware of the nuisance so that works can be scheduled to remove the offending branches.

Weeds are a perennial problem for all Councils but we do our best to keep weeds on public land and highways to a minimum. We treat weeds a minimum of two times during the summer months and on more occasions when the weather works against us. Again we recognise that residents feel very strongly about unsightly weeds in their local area; in most cases we are aware of any significant weed problems in the Valley but please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you feel that the weeds in your area are not being addressed – we will respond to your request and let you know when the weed control team will be visiting your area.

 FLORAL PLANTING

img_0373The Council has a separate contract for its floral planting works. Each village has a number of flower beds which are maintained by Hawthorn Nurseries. The beds are re planted twice per year and are watered, weeded and dead headed throughout the year.