Managing our Estate for Nature

We want to talk to you about some changes to grassland management within our greenspaces. We are committed to enhancing biodiversity, supporting pollinators and tackling the nature crisis.

In response to the urgent need to manage grassland for biodiversity and community interests, the City of Edinburgh Council has started a new grassland management program. This program builds on the success of the Living Landscape programme, which introduced naturalised grassland verges and increased perennial meadows across Edinburgh's parks. This programme aims to further enhance biodiversity within our city. 

During a 2024 trial, the Parks and Greenspaces department will change how they manage grasslands. They will use a relaxed mowing regime in specific areas. The areas are Sighthill/Gorgie, Forth, and part of Pentlands. This initiative focuses on reducing mowing frequency to boost the structural diversity of wildflowers. This will provide vital resources for pollinators. Their populations are currently in concerning decline. This was highlighted in the declared Nature Emergency. 

Key changes 

The primary focus of this project will be on our residential city plots, found on street corners. These areas, often underutilized, are currently mown more than necessary. Under the trial, these plots will now be mown once every 4-6 weeks instead of twice every 4 weeks. Yet, we recognize the importance of balancing biodiversity with grassland use by people. So, the mowing regimes for other types of grassland will not change. This includes community grassland in parks and amenity grassland for recreation and sports. 

In collaboration with the University of Edinburgh, our team will monitor the affected plots in the trial areas. We will compare biodiversity levels to those in similar plots outside the trial. This will allow for empirical evaluation and evidence collection to assess the trial's impact.  

Why we do it? 

The primary goal of this project is to combat biodiversity loss. It also offers a range of additional benefits: 

  • Support pollinators and enhance biodiversity, contributing to healthier habitats and greenspaces. 

  • Lower CO₂ emissions through reduced use of grass cutting machinery. 

  • Increase maintenance team resources for additional projects combating biodiversity loss. 

  • Provide training opportunities for staff in biodiversity and habitat management through partnerships with the University of Edinburgh. 

  • Boost job satisfaction among maintenance staff through increased job diversity and recognition of their crucial role in addressing the Nature Emergency. 


Continuation of Living Landscape Principles 

This trial aligns with the principles established by the Living Landscape project. We also plan to make more grassland areas better for biodiversity. We will do this by adding wildflowers and creating more perennial meadows. The data obtained during the trial period will inform these additional actions. 

For further information:  Nature in your neighbourhood - Edinburgh Living Landscapes 


For inquiries, please feel free to reach out to us at


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Published: 1st May 2024