Weed Control

Glyphosphate reduction plans to result in increased street sweeping?

6/21/20242 min read

Weeds at Western Corner, Edinburgh, June 2024 (c) H Ross
Weeds at Western Corner, Edinburgh, June 2024 (c) H Ross

The City Council's plans to phase out the use of glyphosphate-based chemicals is due to extend to the streets. They'll work with "selfweeders" who want to expedite the end of chemical use in their streets, and appear to be arranging more street sweeping. The City Council waste team says:

"During 2023, the Council made the decision to further reduce the use of Glyphosate based chemicals for the control of weeds across its full estate. From April 2024 our Neighbourhood Environment Service ceased the use of any glyphosate-based chemicals in its maintenance of the majority of CEC maintained grounds. The only exemption on this will be the control of invasive weeds i.e. Giant Hogweed, Japanese Knotweed. Where chemical treatments have previously been used along path edges and fence lines, this will now stop. There will be no treatment of weeds by chemical across the whole estate including schools, housing areas. Any use of chemicals within parks and playgrounds has already ceased. All maintenance in these areas will now be completed by manual or mechanical sweeping by staff.

It is the council’s intention to introduce a phased reduction of the use of glyphosate-based chemical with a potential full ban by 2026 for the control of weeds on our roads, carriageways, pavements, and hardstanding areas. As part of the phased reduction for the control of weeds on our roads etc CEC will continue to investigate alternative methods of weed control as well as increase mechanical and hand removal of detritus and weeds. A new routing programme for mechanical sweeping of all streets will be introduced during 2024 and part of the benefit of such a programme is the reduction in the amount of soil and detritus which can act as a perfect seed bed for street weeds.

During 2024, some hot spot areas will be treated with a limited one spray, using controlled droplet application methods. If required, this will be followed up with hand removal and scrapping. These will be areas of high car parking, controlled parking areas, cobbles areas etc where it is harder to access with mechanical sweeping equipment, for example – areas of the City Centre and the New Town / Stockbridge. We will continue to look at alternatives for such areas during 2024/25.

We will be continuing to work with individuals or groups where there is a strong wish for chemicals not to be used. If an individual can make the commitment to weed the area in front of their own property it will mean no chemical application will be required as our staff should only spray active weed growth.

If given enough notice and provided a request can demonstrate sufficient community demand and commitment to “selfweed” by a street and/or area, then we can work with them to ensure no glyphosate applications will be made in that location."

[Sources: email correspondence from City of Edinburgh Council Waste Team 19/06/2024]

[Image credit: (c) H Ross]