Weed-infested pavements are putting people off walking, warns councillor

Weeds are putting people off “active travel” by deterring them from walking, a councillor has warned.

Weeds near London Road railway station in Brighton

Conservative councillor Robert Nemeth took aim at the Green Party’s push to encourage people to ditch their cars and switch to walking and cycling instead.

He said: “Allowing weeds to take hold discourages active travel, raises the chance of injury to members of various vulnerable groups, increases costs for maintenance and compensation claims and fosters a sense of neglect in the public realm.”

It is not the first time that Councillor Nemeth has criticised the “rewilding” of Brighton and Hove’s streets.

And like most Green and Labour councillors, he was keen for Brighton and Hove City Council to find alternatives to glyphosate, the weedkiller or herbicide known commercially as Roundup.

The chemical weedkiller has been linked with cancer and has been the subject of compensation payments in America after a series of high-profile court cases brought against the maker Monsanto.

But on Thursday (21 October) Councillor Nemeth plans to seek an urgent report on “how pavements in the city can be rapidly brought to a high standard without excessive use of glyphosate”.

The council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee agreed to end the use of glyphosate almost two years ago.

It also agreed that “the removal of weeds in parks and on hard surfaces will be undertaken manually as an alternative approach to using pesticides”.

Councillor Nemeth said: “I’m a beekeeper. I’m passionate about the environment. I don’t want excessive use of glyphosate herbicides.”

But he said that he wants action because overgrown pavements have left some of the most vulnerable people in Brighton and Hove at risk of injury from slipping and tripping.

He said: “Having raised the issue of weeds over the summer which resulted in national coverage of the embarrassing situation, the Conservative group is now calling for an end to the current unsustainable policy position.

“Trips, costs and a run-down environment must be factored in rather than continuing the dogged pursuit of an ideological dream.”

Councillor Nemeth plans to speak about his motion at a meeting of the full council on Thursday at Brighton Town Hall.

The meeting is due to start at 4.30pm and is scheduled to be webcast on the council’s website.

  1. Katy Reply

    Perhaps a good start would be for Councillor Nemeth to call on his Tory government to refund the £110m pounds it has stripped from the city council over the last 11 years. You do not have to be Einstein to see why many services are struggling across the city. It goes deeper than weeds, what about the lack of enforcement officers for littering or graffiti clean up teams, the list goes on. Come on Councillor, get on the phone to your mates in London.

    • Chaz. Reply

      Maybe you could get onto Amy and Phil in your Green Party and tell them to stop wasting money on spendthrift ideological policies Katy?
      Your beloved Greens and Labour have wasted countless millions on items such as insourcing housing repairs, meddling with home to school transport or stopping cars parking which break the budget.
      Cityclean ring any bells?
      Brighton is going bankrupt because of the dogma politics of the left, whether Green or Red. Wake up Katy.

  2. Richard Wright Reply

    That additional green would encourage me to walk. It’s not unslghtly, it’s not unsafe. It breaks up the monotony of the built environment. And it’s the result, partially, of the ban on a highly human-damaging weed-killer. So far as I’m concerned: all good, then.

    • Jean Reply

      Your comment typifies the disablist tendencies of the Greens. As long as you’re young and fit, you’re ok. Woe betide you if you’re old and can’t walk or ride a bike. I hope you never slip and suffer a fractured neck of femur like my gran. The slipperiness of the weed-strewn pavements is even more hazardous in the many hillier parts of this city.

  3. Robert Pattinson Reply

    Ban weedkiller then just ignore the weeds. That is what is happening and the city now looks a mess. But the council better watch out as i have seen elderly and disabled people walking on the road as the path is now unsafe.

  4. Robert Arbery Reply

    Some parts of Portslade pavements are really difficult with a wheelchair, the weeds need to go. The rewilding argument is rubbish, in this very paper the group that campaigned for the pesticides ban said it definitely was NOT about rewilding.

    • hetty Reply

      Sorry Robert, but the Greens don’t care for the disabled. Policy after policy makes life actively harder for those with mobility issues, and their carers. I naively hoped they would be better than the other parties, but they seem callous to me.

  5. Jon Reply

    He’s passionate about the environment because he’s a bee-keeper but wants to use a weed-killer which has been proven to kill bees .
    He wants to promote active travel but has opposed every bike-lane every introduced.
    It’s the same as when Johnson says climate-change is priority number one but then gives the go ahead to new coal mines

    Councillor Nemeth probably believes he’s passionate about the environment and active travel but obviously he’s not

  6. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    I like paving stones but, if – a big if – they have to be replaced by the black gunge, couldn’t another colour be used? Black lowers the spirits, especially in these times.

  7. Trace S Reply

    Rather than weed pavements money should be spent on building affordable housing for people on benefits

  8. Serena Evans Reply

    Active Travel only cares about bicycles.
    Has it spent an actual penny on any other form of travel?

    Greens out NOW!

  9. Jason Reply

    The “greens” aren’t as green as they think we are.

    Further to Robert Arbery’s comment, as a disabled person, I’d like to see something done about the dangerous tree-root-damaged pavements in Benfield Way, as well as the overhanging brambles at the top of Fox Way, heading towards Mile Oak.

  10. IanB Reply

    What a load of nonsense that Councillor Nemeth talks. I can reassure him that I have never been deterred from walking by weeds.

    That was last month’s political stunt and it smacks of desperation to try to resurrect it.

  11. Hove Guy Reply

    I had a nasty fall a few weeks ago and am still recovering from it. Since then I have taken to walking in roads where possible, as I now see that everywhere I look, the pavements are in a dangerous state, with broken paving stones, tree root damage, and weeds. And now the fallen wet leaves are adding to the danger of one easily slipping over. The Greens managed to install the disastrous, expensive and ultimately unused bicycle lanes in Old Shoreham Road overnight, yet they are allowing the problem with weeds to drag on and on. But then again, when did the Greens ever get their prioties right?

  12. Jason Reply

    Be careful Hove Guy. The roads are nearly as bad, with the same lack of maintenance resulting in the surface of minor roads breaking up, leaving potholes everywhere.

    Madeira drive is left to rot while taxpayer money goes on stupid projects like the loss-making doughnut-on-a stick overlooking the remains of the West pier.

    Perhaps it’s time people stopped paying their council tax until something is done to restore the slum Brighton and it’s surroundings has become under a succession of asset-strippers.

  13. Jane Reply

    The council publishes it’s budget figures every year. Maybe if residents took a bit more notice & tried to educate themselves about what councils have to spend money on & what the limits are to how they can spend some money there would be better genreral understanding of how hard it is to find the money for things & why some services suffer so that others don’t.

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