DUDLEY’S environment boss has defended the mowing over of “a stunning troop” of storybook toadstools on open space near a Stourbridge primary school.

Green Party campaigner Mark Binnersley had captured on camera the bright red and white spotted fly agaric mushrooms which he said had been “causing much wonder amongst schoolchildren and parents alike”.

But he said he was left wanting to cry when he saw they had been mown over by jobsworth council workmen and he hit out on Facebook at “Dudley Council with its anti-ecology approach to green space management”.

Dudley News:

A social media row erupted on Streetlifers of Stourbridge and all Surrounding Areas over whether the naturally occurring toadstools, which are synonymous with Enid Blyton books and famous for their inclusion in Alice in Wonderland, should have been left in situ in all their glory or removed in case children or dogs accidentally munched on them.

According to the Woodland Trust - they are considered poisonous and have psychoactive and hallucinogenic properties although reports of human deaths are said to be extremely rare.

Councillor Karen Shakespeare, Dudley Council’s cabinet member for environmental, highways and street services, said fungi and mushrooms thrive in the Autumn and she added: “Once they are present in the ground they tend to grow in a very short space of time.”

She said if the council had not cut the grass there likely would have been complaints from members of the public “similar to the time when the previous administration stopped cutting on a number of grass sites” and she added: “As we come to the end of the growing season, the ground conditions become increasingly wet, impacting on grass cutting operations. It is therefore important that we cut the grass when the conditions allow us to.

“It is appreciated that the mushrooms look attractive, however that could be said of many species present in our grass plots but the policy of the council is to cut the grass in accordance with the wishes of the majority of our public.

“There are however many different species of fungi and mushrooms growing in our nature reserves where they can be visited in their local environment by people who live in and visit our borough.”