Weed killer ban proposed

B&NES Council is being recommended to stop using glyphosate to control street weeds – a toxic chemical substance which some believe could be harmful to humans, and is said to destroy micro organisms in healthy soil and affect earthworms.

 It is just one suggestion in a £950,000 package of proposals for neighbourhood services to improve streets, parks and highways to be discussed by Bath & North East Somerset councillors.

While there has been additional investment in street cleansing over the last two years, Neighbourhood Services which includes highways maintenance, waste, cleansing, fleet, parks and grounds has had funding cuts over the last ten years.

Now, a report before cabinet, which meets on July 20, recommends investing further in Neighbourhood Services to improve standards and reinstate some services.

And it also recommends that the council never again uses glyphosate to control street weeds and instead prioritises funding for mechanical and manual weed removal for street weeds.  Glyphosate will still be needed in some circumstances such as Giant Hogweed and Japanese Knotweed

Councillor Dave Wood, cabinet member for Neighbourhood Services, said: “In common with every local authority, Bath & North East Somerset Council has had to make huge cuts to services in order to balance its budgets over the last 10 years which has had an impact on services like highways maintenance, street cleansing and parks.

 To reverse this we invested in additional street cleansing and more main road litter picking in rural areas, this year. But we want to do more to improve the quality of our environment and that means more investment in our neighbourhood services. 

I am particularly pleased to see the recommendation to stop using glyphosate to control street weeds which is better for our wildlife and in line with our commitment to tackling the climate and ecological emergency.”  

Further investment which the cabinet is being asked to consider includes:

  • Mechanical and manual removal of street weeds – permanently stopping the use of glyphosate and working with communities to manage street weeds in some locations.
  • Street cleansing – More proactive cleansing. Visiting more areas more frequently, litter picking main roads more frequently. Improved response times and increased visits to areas on routine schedules including deep cleans of channels and gulleys.
  • Graffiti removal –improving response times and enhancing the service.
  • Enforcement – continued investment in enforcement against fly-tipping and litter dropping and other activity that breaches relevant environmental law.
  • Gulley emptying – increasing the frequency of emptying.
  • Highway signs and street nameplate – Cleaning signs and cutting vegetation from them more frequently, replacing worn out signs and repainting signs.
  • Highway road markings – more frequent painting of worn out road markings.
  • Improvement to customer feedback on issues raised through our website for attention, improving our digital systems and information for residents about issues affecting their specific areas.
  • Enhanced response times to road and pavement maintenance.

The report says £950k revenue, funded from reserves, on a 12-month pilot will fund the additional services with permanent growth then being determined through the budget process.

A link to the report can be found here: https://democracy.bathnes.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=122&MId=5524

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