Wards in York where weeds will be allowed to grow unchecked

The Council has decided which parts of the City will not have weed killer applied this summer. The decision not to use weed killer in gutters and on hard surfaces is a trial and follows concerns raised about the alleged harmful effects of some chemicals.

Part of the trial would see areas around street furniture “strimmed” instead of being treated. This is unlikely to be controversial and may indeed improve the appearance of some green spaces. The issue here is one of cost and the availability of labour to keep on top of grass/weed growth.

More controversial is a wish by some Councillors to see only two (rather than three) applications of weed killer on hard surfaces during the growing season.

The third application will be omitted in significant parts of the City including the Fishergate ward, Wheldrake, Rural West (Poppletons, Askhams etc), Guildhall, Osbaldwick/Dunnington, Hull Road Ward and the Micklegate Ward.

Some ward Councillors have wanted to go further with no weed treatment at all in some areas including St Pauls Square, Elvington and the alleys off Wellington Street,

It is unclear how, or even if, ward Councillors consulted affected residents before making their judgements.

The extra costs of the hybrid arrangement have not been revealed and it is unclear whether local residents (or, where they exist, Parish Councils) are expected to clear obstructions from those paths and roads which the York Council will no longer treat,

The longer term cost implications including the potential destabilization of structures such as bridges, which could be caused by uncontrolled vegetation growth, have not been published.

In the past problems with restricted sight lines at junctions have been a concern when weeds have been allowed, in some cases, to grow to over over two metres in height.

Weeds can affect sight lines at junctions. This happened near Poppleton a couple of years ago

This, however, was the consequence of a poor performance by Council contractors rather than deliberate neglect.

In some areas, which are not covered by the trial, weed growth this year is overwhelming the treatment arrangements which are in place.

Weeds including this “Mares Tail” on The Reeves are already defeating control attempts by the Council this year. They are a trip hazard when visibility is poor.

The decision, on which streets not to treat for weed growth, was taken at a behind closed doors meeting held on 18th May 2022.

Background documents – which were only published after the meeting had taken place – can be viewed by clicking the links below

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