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.
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