Untreated vegetation and weeds are traditionally regarded as untidy and a sign of poor maintenance however weeds and wild flowers play a valuable role in the environment, which highlights the need for us all to review our traditional approach to them.
This year (2020) the council has been trialling a reduction in the amount of glyphosate herbicides (weed sprays) used across the town for public health reasons and to contribute to biodiversity and sustainability. Like most people, we didn’t foresee COVID-19 and the impact this would have on available staff and opportunities to implement alternative methods of weed control. The impact of COVID-19 became more problematic in controlling weeds around the town when the weather turned very wet in early summer and then turned back to mild and sunny – perfect growing conditions for weeds and meant we couldn’t deal with all the weed growth at the same time with the available resources.
So far this year, we have all seen what weed growth looks like around the town without glyphosate herbicide sprays and we are doing our best with our service provider, Ubico, to address this as soon as possible. Trials of alternatives to glyphosate herbicide sprays have taken place such as flame throwers, acid, hot foam, electricity and weed rippers however all but the weed rippers were less effective than hoped and all manual approaches to weed removal take a lot longer than using a herbicide spray.
New sweeper trial
From 9 November 2020 Ubico will be trialling a sweeper with a weed ripper arm attached to it. The sweeper will be starting in:
- Princess Elizabeth Way
- Tewkesbury Road
- Fairview area
We will assess how successful this trial is before it is widened to other parts of the town. The website will be kept up to date with any changes to where we will be trialling the sweeper. In the meantime other weed removal activity is taking place include street clearances.
We are asking the public to please bear with us as we move around the town removing the weeds. Small weeds can be removed more easily than the larger weeds, some of which may well need to wait until they can be sprayed in early May 2021 but we will be doing our best within the available resources.