Weeds are taking over and rendering pavements unsafe, warns Brighton councillor

Weeds are being allowed to take over the pavements of Brighton and Hove, making them unsafe, according to a Brighton councillor.

Weeds have created uneven and dangerous pavements in places such as Greenfield Close and Wilmington Way, in Brighton, according to Councillor Alistair

Conservative councillor Alistair McNair said that he was concerned that surfaces were being damaged, causing a trip hazard.

The Patcham councillor said that people were pleased with the weedkiller ban but said that other steps were needed to keep people safe, especially those most at risk from uneven surfaces.

It is the second year that Brighton and Hove City Council has not sprayed pavements with glyphosate herbicide during the summer.

Instead, the council said that it had employed more people to remove weeds in priority areas.

Glyphosate, also known by the brand name Roundup, has been sprayed in parks and on playing fields as well as on roads, pavements and housing land in the past. The council aims to phase it out completely by 2022.

Wild flowers and weeds have flourished on pavements, kerbs and roads and in gutters since the council started to limit the use of glyphosate. Other wildlife such as bees are said to have flourished as a result.

Councillor McNair said: “People are happy there is no glyphosate but there is not a reliable replacement.

“I’ve heard about the use of hot foam and, currently, the workers are using hand tools. What we need is a regular time when it happens every year.”

Pavements, he said, should be cleared two or three times a year – or even just once! He added: “It’s not just unsightly. It breaks up the pavement and causes a trip hazard.

“There are many steps up and down the verges – and people need to use them – but it is easy to trip on the weeds and the grass.”

Councillor McNair said that Greenfield Crescent – where weeds were “taking over” – and Wilmington Way, in Hollingbury, were of particular concern as well as the Brangwyn estate in Patcham.

Brighton and Hove City Council said that the coronavirus and lockdown had affected the weeding schedule this year.

Some street cleaning staff who would normally carry out the work had been diverted to more urgent frontline roles in Cityclean and on the seafront to cover staff who had to self-isolate.

The council said: “Please be assured our street cleaning staff are now continuing to work hard to remove weeds and leaves from the most affected areas of the city.

“Removing weeds manually means less ground is covered than using a pesticide and inevitably there will be more weeds visible.

“There has been feedback from some residents who support this approach as it encourages more bees and other insects.

“We will continue to keep the work under review and look at where we can make improvements.”

Any resident who is concerned about a trip hazard or damaged pavement can report it to Cityclean on 01273 292929 or email cityclean@brighton-hove.gov.uk.

The council said that it was still using pesticides on invasive species such as Japanese knotweed and on tree stumps.

  1. Kathleen McMullen Reply

    The solution is for people to buy rough terrain boots! Not weedkiller!

    • Chris Reply

      I’m not sure if this is serious (as in “Let them eat cake”), or an attempt at humour!
      I’ve been commenting on the state of pavements and roadway gutters for some time. There are some quite substantial plants growing and they must be having a detrimental effect on the structure of the pavements and roadways, as well as blocking the drains with roots and leaves.
      My own solution is to clear the weeds outside my property myself with a hoe, in the same way I’m out with a shovel and brush in snow, but not many householders seem willing to do this nowadays.

  2. Mike Gross Reply

    I walked through the Brangwyn estate yesterday. All was fine … not sure what the fuss is about.

    As a councillor surely in the midst of a pandemic you would have other priorities?!

  3. Pat Berry Reply

    Coldean has the same problem . It is a hazard and accidents waiting to happen especially when we have frost on the pavements . Brighton is looking so unkempt.

  4. Hovelassies Reply

    In some countries property owners are responsible for the public pavement adjoing their property – keep clear of weeds, mow grass, remove snow. Fines for people who do not do it. Also a good way for local children to earn pocket money. Might be worth a try here.

  5. Jason Reply

    Pavements are overgrown. Some are impassable. Roads are neglected. The Madeira Drive arches haven’t been maintained for years and are in a dangerous state. The West Pier, always the best one of the two, was allowed to be destroyed by fire, and I’m not aware of any attempts made to prosecute either the arsonists themselves or those who might have paid them. The Hippodrome is in danger of falling down. The police are more interested in persecuting those who violate vague and contradictory “covid” regulations or dare to utter a forbidden word than in going after real criminals.

    What is council tax for, if not to fight (real) crime, maintain the roads and to preserve the town’s best features for future generations?

    Plenty of money for silly projects like cycle lanes and the doughnut-on-a-stick where the West pier once stood, but nothing for legitimate council (town and county) purposes.

    In some cases (West Pier, Hippodrome, etc.) the excuse used is “we don’t own it”, but have these (better not say shysters) never heard of compulsory purchase in the case of assets considered too important to lose?

    I’m not accusing anyone of malpractice, but just what the hell is going on? I certainly understand those who suspect the council of “fiddling while Rome burns” in the sense of “milking” the town while doing nothing to preserve it.

    • Mr Leighton Bond Reply

      “I’m not accusing anyone of malpractice, but just what the hell is going on?”

      The article states that the schedule for weed removal was affected by the pandemic.

      Everything that’s going on in the world and people are worried about some weeds on the pavement.

  6. Neil Thomas Reply

    A little bit of community effort is all that is required here. Do yours if you can, and your neighbours’, if they can’t.

    Could the council offer some sort of nominal incentive e.g., smartest street award per ward?

    @Jason – you can see where all the money goes here: https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/council-and-democracy/council-finance/council-budget/cost-our-services-2020/21

    It’s not all going on cycle lanes (which were funded by central government) and tourist attractions (which bring in funds from outside of our area). Weeding comes from one of the smallest budgets (parks) and is highly labour and time intensive.

  7. Jason Reply

    “The article states that the schedule for weed removal was affected by the pandemic.”

    So what was their excuse in previous years?

    What about my other points?

    It can’t all be blamed on something that only happened this year.

  8. Kitty Reply

    I know for a fact that the area in the photo shown was actually weeded by a council worker twice after lockdown finished.

  9. Jack Gilling Reply

    When are you coming to Westdene?

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