Edinburgh's lawn bowling clubs threatened by cut to grass clippings service

Lawn bowling clubs across the Capital are in danger of going bust if a council service to pick up their grass clipping is withdrawn, it has been claimed.

Wednesday, 21st August 2019, 7:59 pm
Updated Wednesday, 21st August 2019, 8:59 pm
A group of men play bowls. Pic: Ed Phillips/Shutterstock

The city council is set to agree that lawn bowling clubs across the city will have to commercially dispose of the waste produced from trimming their lawns, at rates much more expensive than those presently charged by the authority.

Clubs have criticised the move, saying that the cost to them could seriously impact their ability to operate.

Stephen Fox, Treasurer of Whitehouse Bowling Club, said: “It has financial implications but also a logistical issue in finding someone to replace what is a useful and well functioning community service already provided by the council.

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“We hope sense will prevail and that the council at its meeting today will agree to continue these collections.”

However Neil Ross, Liberal Democrat Cllr for Morningside Ward, has brought a motion to the council today to try to have the council to reassess their decision. Cllr Ross said: “The council’s garden waste policy treats lawn bowling clubs like commercial businesses and forces them to find a commercial contractor to uplift their grass cuttings or to dispose of them as landfill.

“The council should instead be encouraging lawn bowling clubs across the city as they provide an affordable and accessible hub of informal care and support to a broad spectrum of their local community, not to mention access to a healthy outdoor environment and health-giving sport for all ages and levels of ability. I am aware that access to this network of social support is highly valued by older people and the single elderly in particular.

“This is why I support a change in the council’s policy towards garden waste collection for bowling clubs.”

Lawn bowls is often seen by many as a vital service for the elderly, keeping them from the dangers of isolation and loneliness. But clubs have emphasised that they support members from all backgrounds and ages.

Lyn Blackhall, a member at Whitehouse Bowling Club, said: “The sport is very important for tackling elderly loneliness. You could spend seven days a week down at the club if you wished, whether that is playing or just socialising.”

A council spokesperson said: “We are currently in discussions about resolving this issue.”