Weed control and grounds maintenance in the Lancaster & Morecambe district


June 30, 2020

Residents of the Lancaster & Morecambe district who are concerned about pavement weeds are being asked not to spray weed killer due to the potential harmful effects it can have on the environment.

Instead they are being asked to help tackle the issue by working with others in their community to pull weeds by hand or using another method, such as boiling water.

Earlier this year Lancaster City Council took the decision to stop using the weed killer glyphosate due to concerns about its potential effects on the environment and the health of humans and animals.

As a consequence it passed responsibility for weed killing on the public highway to Lancashire County Council, which had previously paid the city council to undertake the work on its behalf.

Although the county council continues to use glyphosate in a controlled way and to strict guidelines, it does not advocate its use by the general public on pavements or roads.

Councillor Dave Brookes, Lancaster City Council’s Cabinet member for environmental services, said: “We know that people are concerned about weeds and that they can make areas look untidy and unloved.

“Many others are rightly worried about the potential risks posed by glyphosate, so while we’d encourage people to look after their local environment, we’d ask them not to resort to simply putting down weed killer.

 "There are many ways to remove weeds naturally and some areas are organising community weeding sessions to tidy up their streets, which is a great way of bringing people together for a socially distanced activity, and helping the environment at the same time.

“The city council will support this by dropping off purple bags and collecting waste, just as we do for community litter picks - send a request to publicrealm@lancaster.gov.uk.

The city council has advised the county council of the local hotspots for weeds, and the county highways team has said that it will monitor them and take action as necessary.

Lancaster City Council is also asking people to be patient as it continues to cope with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, with those changes made to grounds maintenance operations set to continue for the foreseeable future.

This revised programme means non-essential grounds maintenance functions, such as regular mowing of parks, are not taking place. 

This is to allow the council to continue providing essential services to the public such as waste and refuse collections, and to support the council’s wider work of helping vulnerable residents.

Those which have safety implications, such as maintaining visibility lines at highway junctions, have continued throughout.

More information about the changes can be found at Lancaster.gov.uk/coronavirus.