Get weeding

Last night’s B&NES cabinet meeting approved a permanent ban on the use of the controversial glyphosate weedkiller to control street weeds in the council area.

They’ll be looking to organise more mechanical and manual removal of weeds and may be calling on communities to get weeding themselves!

The offending chemical will now only be used for dangerous and invasive weeds including Giant Hogweed and Japanese Knotweed.

That will please the three thousand people who signed a petition asking for the ban – however, it was a couple of paragraphs in a press release from the ruling Lib-Dem group that l found most interesting.

I quote:

Alternatives to weedkiller will be prioritised for street weeds, including additional funding for mechanical and manual weed removal from the next financial year.

The Council will also research viable alternative methods of weed control and will look to work with communities to manage street weeds in some locations.”

Does ‘managing’ weeds mean asking the public to get out there and do some weeding themselves?

I wish them luck with that as it’s difficult enough to get some people to pick up litter let alone pull up weeds!

Here’s a couple of quotes from that release.

Cabinet member for Neighbourhood Services, Councillor Dave Wood, commented:

“In April (2022) we will be trialling £950k of investment in frontline services from street cleaning to graffiti, from repairing roads to banning glyphosate for street weeds with immediate effect.

This will contribute to our work in response to the ecological emergency, significantly reducing the use of chemicals in our operations and providing greater flexibility in how street weeds or pavement plants are managed.

We are all proud of our area and want it to look it’s best. Under the Liberal Democrats we are working hard to reverse the cuts, balance our books and give residents the services they deserve.”

Councillor Jess David, the Council’s member advocate for biodiversity, welcomed the move and commented:

“The use of herbicides has a significant impact on the environment by indiscriminately destroying plants that are an important source of food and habitat for wildlife.

As well as having the support of organisations like the Soil Association, 3,000 people have signed a petition to this Council asking that we stop the use of glyphosate on our streets.

We have stated publicly that we are facing a climate and ecological emergency, and I believe that stopping the annual street-spray is an important step in changing the way we operate. 

This is great news for local biodiversity, allowing more plants to flower and offer benefits. I know this will be welcomed by the many residents that have been in touch with us on this issue.”