Newport council workers must pull out weeds by hand in bid to cut costs
9:50am Wednesday 14th August 2013 in News
WEED-KILLER has been scrapped at Newport council with council staff now removing them from pavements using their hands.
Emails to opposition councillors revealed that the authority decided to drop the use of pesticides for weed treatment as part of cuts to its budget earlier this year.
The council said it scrapped chemical weed spraying, saving it £30,000, because it has become less effective due to a number of factors including European legislation.
Instead staff are now removing weeds by hand when they are big enough and as part of scheduled street cleaning, which the authority says is more environmentally friendly.
All councils are having to make budget savings amid cuts to funding for the Welsh Government from the UK Government.
An email to a councillor read: “As you may be aware a corporate policy decision was made this year to stop the application of pesticides for weed treatment as part of the Medium Term Financial Plan savings due to this being a non statutory service requirement.
“As a result of this decision we are now removing weeds by hand when they are of sufficient size and when we have sufficient resources to be able to action this as part of the scheduled street cleansing service.”
Another was told: “ The decision was made by cabinet as part of the MTFP savings target, with a budget saving of £30k which equates to the costs of pesticides and equipment utilised for the application.”
Cllr David Fouweather, senior Tory opposition councillor, asked the council to think again.
He said: “I am sure that the costs to repairing pavements and roads which are damaged by weeds will far exceed the £30,000 saving.”
A council spokeswoman said: "Newport City Council has found that the chemical weed spraying of footways has become less effective due to a number of factors including tightly regulated European legislation on what chemicals can be used.
"We have therefore sought alternative methods as part of our routine maintenance and cleansing including manual removal which is more environmentally friendly.
"We will continue to monitor the highway as part of our statutory duty and will address any issues that arise."
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