A community has said it is being overrun by weeds after the local council implemented a ban on pesticides.
The Green Party-run Brighton and Hove Council announced plans to be weed-killer free over concerns on the impact it has on humans and the environment.
The council, one of Britain’s most eco-conscious, pledged to become a pesticide-free city by 2022 and halted its use of glyphosate – a key ingredient in most weed killers – in 2019.
But as a result of the ban, residents in the area say their pavements are being destroyed by overgrown weeds and plants, creating trip hazards and eyesores.
According to the Sunday Times, two elderly women have ended up in hospital after falling on damaged pavements.
Reports suggest the problem has grown worse because of the pandemic, meaning some council workers have been unable to tackle the weeds due to restrictions.
Robert Nemeth, a councillor for Wish ward, in Brighton, told the Times: ‘It’s all very well for a trendy city-dweller to say, ‘Let’s rewild our pavements’ after hearing about the cause for the first time.
Residents have hit out at Brighton and Hove Council as they say a ban on the use of weed killers has meant weeds are overtaking pavements and walkways, making them dangerous. Pictured: Overgrown weeds in St Keyna Avenue, Hove
Brighton and Hove Council announced plans to be weed-killer free over concerns on the impact it has on the environment
Reports suggest two elderly residents were hospitalised after they tripped over the pavement which was overrun with weeds
Critics accused Brighton and Hove Council of using rewilding policies as an excuse for neglecting to maintain pavements
‘They probably haven’t got any friends who are elderly or disabled, who are most likely to be seriously injured under the current unsatisfactory situation.’
A petition signed by hundreds of residents in Brighton – which has the country’s only Green MP – urged the council to find alternative ways to manage weeds which had grown as a result of the ban.
It said: ‘We petition Brighton and Hove Council to effectively manage the increasing issue of weeds growing from the pavements and walkways causing damage to the pavements that will inadvertently cost the taxpayer and divert future funds for other projects.
‘The weeds are dangerous in paces causing trip hazards and they are detrimental to the aesthetics of our city.’
The petition went on to state that they acknowledged the council’s policy against chemical weed killers but said the weeds needed to be manually removed to ensure walkways are maintained.
The council responded by stating that the weeding and deep cleaning schedule ‘had been badly impacted upon by the Covid-19 pandemic and effects of restrictions and lockdown’.
A petition signed by hundreds of residents in Brighton urged the council to find alternative ways to manage weeds
Brighton and Hove Council said the problem has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic and Government measures
In 2019, Brighton and Hove council pledged to become a pesticide-free city by 2022 and halted its use of glyphosate
Residents say the problem is creating trip hazards across the region and needs tackling by the council to prevent injury
Council say ‘many residents have welcomed the weeds as habitats for insects and bees and complain when they’re removed’
However, critics say the problem persists even as the country has eased out of lockdown.
Some have said that the council is using its rewilding policy – allowing ‘natural processes’ to replace human management of site ‘where possible’ – as a cover for avoiding maintaining the pavements.
Joy Flowers, 68, who lives in Hollingbury, told the Times: ‘We did have the hand-weeding team around, but you wouldn’t know it. I think the ‘rewilding’ is a bit of an excuse. The pavements should be kept clear.’
Brighton and Hove Council said that many residents ‘have welcomed the weeds as habitats for insects and bees and complain’ when they’re removed.
It added that the weed problem had been exacerbated by staff shortages during the pandemic and that the weather had also contributed to ‘a growth spurt’. It will hire an external contractor to help speed up removal.