Weeds, bees and biodiversity

Published on 15th June 2021

councillors Dobie and Oliver with Ubico operative and weed ripper machine in cheltenham

Council looks at supporting biodiversity, maintaining grasslands, limiting weed spraying and using new weed removal machinery - talks begin with Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust.

Supporting biodiversity, maintaining grasslands and limiting the amount of weed spraying are at the top of the Council’s agenda this week as talks start with Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust to jointly look at an insecticide free town moving forward.

In a bid to protect bees and other pollinating insects from the use of chemical weed killer, the Council’s environmental services partner, Ubico, has since the start of the year been removing the worst of the weeds using new machinery on public land in Cheltenham.

Cllr Max Wilkinson member for climate change said: ‘’As part of our climate emergency work we are committed to doing more to look after the natural world, including animals and plants. Reducing the use of glyphosate weed killer will help us do that.

“Limiting the use of this chemical will help us protect insects and over time people will see the difference in the plants and insects around us.”

Residents may notice some increase in weeds, but Ubico crews will use weed rippers to remove weeds following a trial last year. There will be some weed spraying where weed rippers cannot be used. 

During the past year, to further support climate emergency action, the Council has enhanced and created new diverse grassland habitats on many of its green spaces. Pittville park, Benhall open space and Springfields park are just a few locations where extensive natural grassland is supporting bird species where previously they had not existed. 

Cllr Iain Dobie member for waste & recycling & street services said: ‘’Ensuring biodiversity and balancing the need to clear some weeds and long grass around street furniture, such as signs will be well under-way across the borough from the end of the month.

‘’Areas of long grass on highway verges will start being cut down from the end of June but any areas of wildflower planting may be left long, especially those with bulbs planted as this is to encourage a good display of flowers for next year. Hedges will also be cut after bird nesting season in July.’’

A programme of weed removal which includes some weed spraying of targeted areas can be found at www.cheltenham.gov.uk/weed-control starting in the town centre then moving on to Lansdown, the Park, St Pauls, Springbank, Swindon Village and the rest of the borough over the next 6 weeks, weather permitting.

For media enquiries contact communications@cheltenham.gov.uk 01242 264 231

Photo – single use only. Councillor Iain Dobie and Councillor Tony Oliver with a Ubico operative using the weed ripper to help manually remove weeds and reduce the amount of weed spraying needed. 


The Council’s weed control policy can be found at www.cheltenham.gov.uk/weed-control