Sussex Estates and Facilities

Grounds Services

The appearance of Falmer campus is a high priority for the University, and is recognised as a basic core requirement for attracting new students. The Grounds Services Team is responsible for mainting the grounds on-site, which includes emptying external litter and recycling bins on a daily basis, as well as conducting litter picks and clearing leaves. All entrances to campus are manually cleaned and litter picked on a daily basis.

The Grounds team operates on weekdays only, with the exception of special high-volume events such as Open Days. Priority is given to areas most likely to have experienced high use over the weekend during Monday morning clearings.

Grounds maintenance

  • We ensure to promote good environmental practice for all activities on campus.
  • In accordance with the local ecosystem and landscape, we ensure that all projects maintain and continue to enhance the downland nature of the local environment.

Sports Grounds maintenance

  • The Grounds team is responsible to maintaining the University's sports pitches to the required standard.

Landscaping & Conservation

  • We regularly undertake efforts to increase the wildlife value of the campus through bird/bat boxes, hedge laying programmes, meadow creation, tree planting & woodland glades depending on the environment and season.

Tree & shrub planting

  • We ensure that the selection of trees and shrubs for planting are carefully considered with indigenous species selected for woodland areas. This includes consulting our existing local tree survey, considering the impact that placing new plantlife in certain areas would have, and deciding which species are most suitable for the local environment.
  • Hedgerows are cut back in March and October.

Pest control

  • Planned preventative and reactive pest control is provided across all campus and off-site buildings, including residences. This service also includes the use of a hawk which deters pigeons in a humane approach keeping numbers to a minimum. 
  • Any ad hoc requests for pest control should be made via the Service Centre.


  • When it is absolutely necessary to fell trees for essential projects or for safety reasons, the Grounds team will do so safely and most often plant new trees on campus to maintain and improve the amount of greenery in the premises.
  • The Grounds team will also prune trees to control growth and improve their appearance on occasion, as well as cutting back overhanging trees and bushes to ensure pathways are kept clear.
  • We construct a detailed tree condition survey on a five year rolling basis, first submitted in 2015. All trees are tagged, numbered, and listed on GPS to help maintain them on a long term basis. This report also details individual tree height, spread, age, diameter, any signs of disease, and amenity value. It is also supplemented with a tree hazard rating, commentary, any recommendations, and an overall summary and conclusion.

Grass cutting

  • We cut the grass on campus regularly according to our grounds maintenance schedule. All areas of lawn are cut down to a height no more than 50mm. We also ensure all lawn areas are weed and moss free.
  • Grass clippings are often left on the grass to replace the nutrients to the soil, thereby avoiding the need for fertilisers and encouraging the growth of wild species, such as orchids.


  • We ensure that all routes are properly maintained and that 'desire' paths are discouraged. This includes woodland paths and the Boundary Trail footpaths.
  • Some areas of campus will be briefly designated off limits during heavy snowfall or very low temperatures to ensure the safety of everyone at the University. Closed paths, steps and car parks are marked by tape and signs.

Weed killing

  • The use of pesticides and herbicides are kept to an absolute minimum, with the use of any chemicals monitored closely with regular reviews.
  • Natural methods of controlling weeds and fungi are used wherever possible.

Water use

  • Newly planted trees and shrubs are watered only according to the weather, and will most often only be watered during drier summer periods to reduce unnecessary water use.

Road & Path clearance

  • To maintain safety and a pleasant visual appearance, we endeavour to keep all paths and roads tidy and well maintained.

Snow & Ice clearance

  • During periods of considerable snowfall and freezing, urea and salt are applied to paths, roads, and areas of heavy footfall or increased risk.
  • When snow and ice conditions become more severe and a wider concern on campus, we apply salt clearing materials in accordance with our snow and ice gritting priority map. Our staff begin early in the morning before working hours to ensure all pathways and roads are as clear as possible.
  • Salt and grit deposits are located all over campus to expediate their application, and are quickly replenished after use.

Litter & leaf clearance

  • We ensure that litter and leaves are removed from roads, paths and grass areas in priority of safety when necessary.
  • Any accumulation of leaves on the edge of woods and copses are removed so as not to spread to areas already cleared.
  • Clearances of leaves from car parks is completed before 8.30am from Monday to Friday.

Path maintenance

  • When paving slabs are damaged or displaced and become a safety hazard, we ensure that they are quickly replaced with materials in keeping with the surroundings and aesthetic of the University.