The world’s greenest city has agreed a further reduction to its lawnmowing policy to protect wild plants and animals in the Austiran capital Vienna.
The council added the new location after council tenants at the huge Kongresssiedlung estate in Vienna claimed wildlife is being hacked to death by the current policy of ruthless, remorseless mowing of their green areas.
And council gardening officials have now agreed, saying that in future the grass and anything else growing in it will have to grow to more than 10 cm (3.9 inches) before getting chopped.
The tenants, campaigning as the Meadow Doctors, say the council’s current policy of cutting grass has ruined the potential benefit to wildlife and impacted biodiversity on the estate.
Meadow Doctor member Helmut Chrobak said: “In previous years, the lawns had been cut rigorously. This caused damage and dehydration.”
Resident Brigitte Gobel told broadcaster ORF: “The flowers have been allowed to grow. They weren’t cut immediately.”
A city government official admitted: “Every reasonable idea is worth being considered. Sometimes simple solutions are best.”
Vienna, which has 1.98 million inhabitants, features 126 square kilometres (49 square miles) of grass areas.
Hietzing District, where the Kongresssiedlung is situated, is the greenest area in the Austrian capital as parks and meadows account for a stunning 70 per cent of the total area.
There are almost half a million trees in Vienna.
Around 95,000 trees line the streets and paths of the city which has 1.9 million inhabitants. A further 188,000 trees can be found on private property while the spacious public Prater Park boasts with an estimated 200,000 trees.
Large parts of the Prater are untouched forests and meadows to avoid the extinction of various native species such as the numerous solitary bees.
And the city council also abstains from cutting down grass and wildflowers elsewhere unless absolutely necessary.
Newsflash has spoken to Vienna Waters spokeswoman Mathilde Urban.
She told the news agency about her department’s policies regarding the flora at the embankment of the Wienfluss (Vienna River) in the western districts of Hietzing and Penzing: “The Wienfluss has always been a flood waters channel.
“The plants growing in the Wienfluss basin can develop naturally. They never get cut.”
Urban explained: “Intense rainfall can turn the comparably thin Wienfluss stream into a powerful current which rips out any plants and flowers.
“However, all these plants then grow again.”
The Vienna Waters official added: “We only mow the grass along the path used by pedestrians and cyclists which runs from Auhof to Kennedy Bridge.”
EcoWatch, an environmental news platform, has praised Vienna for its various sustainable development initiatives such as the city-owned rental bike system.
In 2020, the Canadian-American consulting firm Resonance named Vienna, which features 990 municipal parks, the greenest city in the world.
The capital of Austria topped the ranking ahead of the German cities of Munich and Berlin, Madrid in Spain and the Brazilian megacity of Sao Paolo.
The Resonance jury lauded Vienna’s “bounty of fresh ideas about mobility and public parks.”
It added: “But the commitment comes from a history of methodical city planning that has given the world everything from the English garden-inspired City Park to an actual national park just outside of town (Nationalpark Donau-Auen).”
The experts at Resonance took aspects such as air pollution, the percentage of public green spaces and public transport passenger numbers into account.
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Story By: Thomas Hochwarter, Sub-Editor: Michael Leidig, Agency: Newsflash
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