Thursday 18 January 2018

Council seeks to shear costs with its eco-friendly mowers

Gordon Deegan

IT'S the latest in eco-friendly gardening and it just might help one local authority shear its landscaping bill.

Clare County Council is considering a proposal to introduce sheep to graze its green spaces in a bid to cut its annual maintenance bill of €500,000.

The suggestion was made by Green Party councillor Brian Meaney who described it as an "innovative" measure.

The idea seems to have worked elsewhere. Brighton and Hove City Council in the UK already uses sheep to graze its green spaces.

Commenting on his proposal yesterday, Mr Meaney said: "I recall from my childhood elderly neighbours keeping sheep to maintain their gardens, so we are getting back to basics in an ecologically friendly way.

"In Clare, the State hires cattle to maintain the site at the 5,000-year-old Poulnabrone dolmen in the Burren," he added.

The proposal has been referred to the council's special policy committee on the environment which is expected to meet next month to discuss it.

However, Nora Kaye, Clare County Council's acting director for planning and land use, argued it could lead to the local authority being sued.

In a report on the matter, she said: "Unfortunately, the claims culture in this country is much more prolific than in the UK and the likelihood is that the practice suggested would lead to claims for one reason or the other.

"The logistics of setting up such a strategy would be difficult and I wouldn't be in favour of it."

Irish Independent

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