In May 2021, the council ended its use of glyphosate for treating weeds on its streets and pavements. The council had already stopped using glyphosate in parks and housing estates. This was in response to residents’ concerns of potential health risks associated with glyphosate use, along with its impact on the environment and local wildlife.
As part of the this, we introduced a community weeding scheme. This offered residents the chance to take their streets out of the glyphosate spraying schedule immediately by doing their own weeding by hand. The scheme was extremely successful with around 130 streets getting involved.
Now that all weeding is done manually by our contractors, the threat of any potential problems caused by glyphosate has been removed. However, the community weeding scheme also proved popular because it allowed weeds the chance to flower and contribute to local biodiversity. Many communities found it interesting to observe the rich variety of plants that grew around trees and on pavements.
A local botanist counted 47 plant species growing around trees and on the pavement of her short street in Kennington. This diversity is key to supporting a wide variety of insects and other wildlife. Because of this we are continuing the Community Weeding Scheme, with a renewed focus on encouraging biodiversity while at the same time removing plants that could damage walls and pavements, as well as any that could cause a trip hazard.