OPINION

Greens need to get to grips with overgrown weeds and here’s why

Posted On 08 Jul 2022 at 7:37 am

Labour recently took a motion to full council about the persistent failure to deliver basic services that our residents expect.

We offered cross-party collaboration to find solutions to these problems but it didn’t go down too well with the Green administration.

One of those persistent failures is the failure to get to grips with the overgrown weeds that are choking our city.

As a local councillor, my inbox is constantly filled with residents’ complaints about overgrown weeds.

Now, the Green administration are quick to talk about the need for biodiversity and rewilding when we raise this issue.

Let’s be clear – Labour support biodiversity. We declared a climate emergency, set up the climate assembly and we started rewilding at Waterhall.

However, what residents are right to complain about are embedded overgrown weeds and tree base growth on our pavements and even on some cycle paths.

They are posing an accessibility issue and a safety hazard, particularly for older people and those with disabilities, as well as residents reliant on wheelchairs, walking aids and those with pushchairs.

They quickly erode paving and tarmac and are also unsightly to some. We saw this last year, and again this year.

What’s worse is that the council has no excuse for not taking action this year as Labour managed to secure over £200,000 additional funding from the budget and previous underspends to pay for more staff to deal with this problem.

Even so, all we are hearing from the council’s administration is excuses. They’ve apparently been unable to recruit the staff or acquire the right machinery. It’s simply not good enough.

That being said, don’t buy into the narrative that we should bring back glyphosates. Of course, it was right to stop the use of harmful glyphosates.

However, we need to take action to cut back weeds and support our communities to get active helping with ongoing weed control.

Alternative non-harmful substances are out there. Why haven’t they been tried? Why have staff not been employed yet? Why has the machinery not been obtained yet?

The Green administration has a lot of questions to answer, because as things stand, it appears inefficient and incapable.

The Greens cannot hide behind their name and support for biodiversity. They need to get to grips with the accessibility issues their inaction has caused, particularly for residents with disabilities.

Councillor John Allcock is the joint Labour opposition leader on Brighton and Hove City Council.

  1. Jos Matthews Reply

    Labour (Momentum) needs to stop supporting deluded Green Transport schemes

  2. Jon Reply

    I’ve seen street cleaners pulling out weeds by hand. In the couple of years since the ban the council’s only plan has been to phone job agency Blue Arrow to recruit people to pull out weeds by hand for £10.19/HR
    There are many authorities all over the World that have banned pesticides. I think the Czech Republic have. They have experience in what works and what doesn’t. Before the ban was introduced maybe they could have made a plan.

    • Andrew England Reply

      Time for the gardener to return from his lunch and put Bill and Ben firmly back in the shed instead of playing around with Weed. She has been allowed to cause trouble for far too long.

      Improvements to the local environment such as repairing broken pavements, removing weeds, planting missing trees, mending the potholes in Preston Park, eradicating graffiti, replacing missing park benches etc etc, in other words smartening up the city, will be the Lib Dems number one priority when we finally get back on the council. Well said, John. We need the green to turn yellow.

  3. Jason Reply

    Greens! Watermelons. Green outside, red inside, and nowhere near as “green” as they think we are if they think we believe their constant LIES.

    Council tax goes up while services go down. Where is all the money going?

    I remember a time when councils used things called MOWERS to control weeds.

    I use a mobility scooter, and some pavements are nearly impassable because of brambles, one example among many being the area at the brow of the hill in Fox Way.

    Many minor roads in the county are potholed due to lack of maintenance, and pavements are so bad, due to tree roots, that I often have to use the roads instead.

    The west pier, the better one of the two, was allowed to be destroyed by arsonists, and I’m not aware of any resulting prosecutions.

    The Madeira Drive arches are being left to fall down, as appears to be the case with the Old Steine fountain.

    I repeat, where DOES all the money go? It certainly isn’t being used to preserve our heritage or anything else the average taxpayer would expect.

    Brighton doesn’t need silly schemes like Valley Gardens or the loss-making “doughnut on a stick”. What the place DOES need is LOOKING AFTER, and that’s not happening.

    • Hove Guy Reply

      Where does all the money go? Cycle lanes, dangerous roundabouts and student accommodation.

  4. Jon Reply

    I moved from Brighton, after having been born there, and lived there for most of my adult life. I decided to move out to a beautiful part of the East Sussex countryside. If Green councillors really think letting weeds grow up through pavements is biodiversity, then they are either mad, or lying. Brighton could easily be the best city in the country in the UK, but it desperately needs to get some grown ups in charge, and not the platitude spouting 6th form students currently running the place.

    • Jack Williams Reply

      More like kindergarten than 6th formers!

  5. Bored Local Reply

    “Greens” show their lack of care about disabled access when they changed all the sea front parking. If you don’t use a bike, they really don’t care about you at all. Bicycles rule the council. No one else matters.

    Use a bicycle on the pavement and there is no problem with the weeds.

  6. fed-up with brighton politics Reply

    The council depot for street cleaners is over the back of our road (hello, anyone there?) If they ever appear, which they haven’t recently, they move like tortoises with a picker-stick or whatever it’s called, no bending or anything actually physical, pick up any bits and bobs of rubbish that they fancy, but have earphones in, so are probably concentrating on something else. In a street filled with HMOs, where, very obviously, the inhabitants don’t garden (the back garden is relevant, but only for partying),this is getting worse and worse – my cat eats a few for digestive purposes, but not enough as she’s quite a small cat, and they are taking hold so badly that it would take many Popeyes and cans of spinach to pull them up. You, Labour, are in bed with the Greens, so don’t pretend you are any better than they are when you constantly prop them up. It’s not much use you moaning about their incompetence, which you do constantly, when we know that you would be just as bad. People sentenced to community service could do this kind of thing (what do such people do, by the way??), and many teenagers might be happy to do it for some decent pocket money (although I expect all that would be vetoed by useless council officers on ‘elf and safety grounds).

    No, Jon above, it has nothing to do with biodiversity. It is just total neglect and incompetence by the ‘ruling’ (by default only) Greens, who are more interested in dogma (such as declaring Brighton nuclear-free, trying to impose Critical Race Theory on Schools etc etc) than keeping the city clean and tidy and attracting visitors to help the local economy. Labour, who keep them in ‘power’, are complicit in all this, but talk as if they are better. ‘

  7. Lewis Searle Reply

    I struggle to take John Allcock seriously when it was Labour who banned pesticides in the first place and Labour who abandoned the council in the middle of the pandemic when things got tough. No principles, no hope.

    • Katy Reply

      Labour did ban glycophosphates for good reason but from what I remember, they asked for alternative solutions to be sought and increased manual weeding. They never abandoned the city but rather the Green Party took over by default and that’s the issue. They have never followed through on finding suitable alternatives or significantly increasing weeding. They have been happy to avoid doing anything about the weeds and call this re-wilding. Dangerous pavements and people unable to use wheelchairs in places is not what the city deserves.
      So, point the finger by all means but do so in the right direction.

  8. Nathan Adler Reply

    Lets be honest some Green Councilors are on record, (Cllr Lloyd), saying they enjoy the greenery and ‘re wilding’ that the weeds have bought. They have no intention of getting it sorted. the long term cost in damage to pavements, drains and potential claims is very worrying. Labour was right to ban harmful pesticides but an alternative solution should have been but in place first.

  9. Charles U Farley Reply

    Surely, any sane person would have a working alternative lined up or in place BEFORE removing the incumbent?

    Yes, by all means remove the dangerous glycophosphates but NOT BEFORE you have something to replace them.

    Are these people really allowed to dress themselves and leave the house on their own?

  10. Anony Reply

    Overgrown weeds and TREES a complete shambles! The council have failed us yes but hang in, Labour Councillors don’t care either. Some can’t even cut back their own private evergreen trees causing damage, threat to injury and darker homes. Living in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones etc!

  11. Phil Reply

    Absolutely. Well said.
    The current administration (Greens) are failing in their responsibility to maintain the grass verges, clean pavements and generally keep the city in a good state of repair. I’m fed up having to constantly chase up basic services which we as taxpayers fund. It is simply not good enough. Do they need to be placed into special measures before they take their responsibilities seriously? Let’s quit wasting money on woke agendas and focus on basic services to keep our city in a good state of repair.

  12. Jason Reply

    What is “re-wilding”?

    Isn’t that what happens when an area is ABANDONED and Nature is allowed to take it back?

    Towns, villages and residential areas are engaged in a slow-motion battle against “weeds”.

    Abandon an area and Nature’s demolition teams move in, buddleia, brambles, thistles and numerous others, demolishing man’s creations and restoring the area to a more Natural state.

    That’s MY idea of what re-wilding is, not just ignoring a problem until buildings start to collapse and the place HAS TO be abandoned.

    … or are the watermelons (not very “green”) planning to abandon the entire “greater Brighton” area?

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