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As it is now, the practical quality of life in the neighborhood is at odds with the ecological objectives of the municipality.

Biodiversity should never be at the expense of safety for residents. The new lawn management in Eindhoven, specifically in the Achtse Barrier district, has become a point of discussion between the municipality and its residents. It seems to be a classic clash between environmental management and the practical daily life of the residents. The municipality started an extensive lawn management program in the spring, with the aim of improving biodiversity in the neighborhood. The idea behind it is noble and praiseworthy, but it has unintended consequences for the residents who are confronted with impenetrable tall grass around their homes.

The lawn management program has inadvertently led to another problem: stinging nettles blocking the path to the bike path. Cyclists, who already had trouble navigating the tall grass, now also have to be careful not to get stung by the stinging nettles that grow along the path. This situation is not only uncomfortable, but can also be dangerous, especially for children and the elderly who may not be very adept at navigating the tall grasses and nettles. In addition, this increases the risk of falls and other injuries, which is a safety risk that the municipality must take seriously.

Is it about biodiversity or the costs? According to Bas van Leuven, area manager at the municipality of Eindhoven, this is the result of a well-considered choice. “This saves costs and creates flowery grass,” explained van Leuven. He also emphasized that flowery grass leads to increased biodiversity, which contributes to a healthier bee and butterfly population.

But for the residents of Achtse Barrier, who are used to short-kept grass, this change means a new and unwanted challenge in their daily lives. The area that is now no longer mowed is directly adjacent to their backyards. This means that they have to make their way through tall grass to take their rubbish bins and wheelie bins to the street or to make their way to the cycle path by bicycle or scooter. This has become a particularly difficult task, if not impossible, due to the height of the grass. The result is that the bins remain on the street, which creates an extra messy street scene and possible nuisance.

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The Eindhoven problem shows that sustainability efforts should always take people's daily needs into account. While promoting biodiversity is a noble goal, it is essential to consider the practical implications of such measures for residents.

response from the municipality

Our editors had a very positive telephone conversation with Bas van Leuven, the area manager at the Municipality of Eindhoven. Despite the challenges he faces in implementing the new mowing methods, Bas spoke with genuine passion about his work and dedication in carrying out his task for the Municipality of Eindhoven.

“At the moment we are still fine-tuning the new way of mowing,” explained Bas. He acknowledged that there has been an increase in complaints since the implementation of this new strategy, but at the same time also indicated that this is an essential part of the process. “Each complaint is reviewed so that policy can be aligned with residents,” he added. In an area where there is a large increase in complaints, Van Leuven will take a closer look.

What was particularly inspiring in our conversation with Bas was his clear aim to be transparent with the residents of Eindhoven and to actively involve them in shaping public green management. He emphasized that it is not the intention to bully residents with these changes. On the contrary, the new way of mowing is intended to manage urban green spaces more sustainably and efficiently, while also contributing to local biodiversity.

While it is clear that the transition to these new mowing methods is not without challenges, it is also clear that Bas and his team are determined to meet these challenges and to work with the residents of Eindhoven towards a greener, more sustainable future.

This situation raises questions about the balance between environmentally friendly policies and the practical needs of residents. There is undoubtedly always a way to reconcile these two interests, so that both biodiversity can be promoted and the comfort of the inhabitants can be ensured. It is important that the municipality listens to the concerns of its residents and works together to find a solution that is acceptable to everyone.

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According to Bas van Leuven, area manager at the municipality of Eindhoven, this is the result of a well-considered choice.

To break this stalemate, the municipality must find a middle ground between its pursuit of biodiversity and the daily needs of its inhabitants. A possible solution could be to mow a clear path from the backyards to the street, so that residents can easily move their bins and wheelie bins. In this way, most of the grass would still have the chance to grow and promote biodiversity, while residents would not be unnecessarily hindered in their daily routines.

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Residents have to make their way through tall grass to take their bins and wheelie bins to the street.

Complaints from residents should not be dismissed with a story about flowery grass that provides more different types of plants and is good for the bee and butterfly population.

The situation in Eindhoven also offers a valuable lesson for other cities and municipalities. Sustainability measures must be carefully weighed against the impact on the lives of residents. In this way we can ensure a healthier, more biodiverse environment, without compromising the quality of life in our cities and villages.

Do you also have a complaint about the public space in Eindhoven? – Click here

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