COUNCIL workers have been told to stop chopping down daffodils after complaints began pouring into a council for the fourth year running.

Blackburn with Darwen Council leader Kate Hollern has stepped in to protect the spring flowers by insisting they should be left to bloom.

She has now demanded assurances that the only time they will be cut down is if they are preventing drivers from seeing round junctions -- in which case she wants to know why they were planted there in the first place.

Blackburn with Darwen Council has been plagued with phone calls for the last four years over the plight of daffodils being beheaded within days of coming into bloom.

Their arrival on verges, squares and parkland oftencoincides with the start of grass-cutting season.

And residents along Buncer Lane, Blackburn, were among the first to complain this year after some daffs were cut down even before they had chance to flower!

Now the council has confirmed it has introduced new rules on cutting daffodils.

Some senior officers even feared the annual daffodil row could affect their annual Government inspection rating because people would think less of the authority.

Peter Hunt, director of direct services at Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: "In some areas of the borough, such as Buncer Lane, stems grow that will never bloom as they have previously been cut back.

As they are unable to bloom they are cut back along with the grass.

"In remaining cases we cut back areas six weeks after the daffodils have died. This will allow the bulbs to regenerate and flower again next spring."

Coun Hollern said: "It seems absolutely ridiculous that we turn up and mow them down. They give people pleasure.

"I have instructed they should only be chopped down if they block drivers' view when going round a bend or at a junction.

If that's the case, I'll ask why they were planted there in the first place."

Daffodils don't spread easily, meaning the vast majority which grow around the borough have been placed there intentionally.