'Contractors are ruining Leighton Buzzard green areas with weedkiller'

'They are simply using any method to cheapen their work without regard for what the area looks like afterwards?'

By Joanna Gravett
Wednesday, 9th February 2022, 12:36 pm
Updated Wednesday, 9th February 2022, 12:38 pm

A Leighton Buzzard resident has slammed contractors for using too much weedkiller to maintain its green areas.

The man, who lives near Heath Road, says he is fed up with the way Central Bedfordshire's (CBC's) workmen are managing grass areas around lamp standards, telegraph poles, trees, and bollards. However, the council says staff are trained to apply the herbicide "safely and without excess” and point out that some work may not actually be down to its own contractor. but carried out by other organisations.

The resident argues that the area is maintained to a "very poor standard" and that the weed killer leaves "unsightly rings of bare earth".

A dry patch of grass which the resident claims was caused by weed killer.

He claimed: "I have trawled many horticultural guides and cannot find one which suggests that the appropriate way to trim the edge of a grasses area is to spray a half metre wide band with weed killer.

"My neighbour challenged the council department before and was told 'we always do it that way but the dry spell has made it more obvious'. This is absolute nonsense.

"None of us have ever seen huge areas of dead grass around obstacles in the verges in the decades we have lived in this town, and if that was the case, why were they strimming around the obstacles in previous years?"

He added: "Do the council think we aren’t bright enough to work out the truth, that the contractor is simply using any method to cheapen their work without regard for what the area looks like afterwards?"

The resident claims that the contractors began using weedkiller last year and that he has since contacted three councillors about the issue but had no response.

He also noted that, frustratingly, there have been other green areas in desperate need of the chemical.

He added: "It is ironic that there are significant areas within the council’s responsibility that need the application of weedkiller but which have been ignored by the contractor.

"These include the road edges which are becoming overgrown with weeds, resulting from the haphazard debris from previous grass cutting, and the weeds growth in the alleyway between Poplar Close and Heath Road, where it will soon be necessary to use a machete to get through!

"The latest rapid run down our road has left significant areas uncut and debris spread over the road. The foot high weeds are simply flattened down and an hour later are standing up again. I don’t believe that our council bother to check the work before they pay the invoice."

A Central Bedfordshire Council spokesman said: "Our grounds maintenance contractor uses an approved glyphosate-based herbicide to control weeds around street infrastructure including lamp posts and road signs. The concentration of this product is mixed appropriately to ensure it adheres to current approved protocols.

"The use of active ingredients in herbicides is strictly regulated by the EU and this product has been approved for use in these environments. The contractor’s staff are trained to apply the product safely and without excess.”

As background detail, the spokesman added: "We have been using this method to control weeds around obstacles for a number of years. However, our contractor hasn’t carried out any weed spraying yet this year. There are other organisations who do spray in the area. We would need more specifics from the resident to look into this further."

Residents can call the CBC customer services team on 0300 300 8302 or email [email protected], so CBC can check that the weed control in the area is appropriate.