There has been a considerable amount of debate and publicity around the use of herbicides in our greenspaces.

Currently, Medway Council does allow the use of herbicides by their contractor Norse. The chemicals are glyphosate based and used to control weeds in a restricted and controlled way. At the Council’s Oversight and Scrutiny (O&S) Committee for Culture, Regeneration and Environment in August 2019 it was proposed that the use of herbicides was contrary to the Council’s environmental policies, damaging to the biodiversity of our greenspaces and should be stopped. In addition, a number of members of the public made representations to the committee in support of this view.

The O&S committee agreed that there was a problem that needs to be investigated and recommended further research with a possible ban on the use of herbicides being put into place for the growing season next spring. This is not a decision making committee and can only make recommendations to the Council’s Cabinet, especially in relation to changes to Council contracts. Also, there are no political issues involved in this debate.

It also important to make it clear that there is no use of pesticides in our greenspaces.

  • Current Government Health and Safety Executive information on issues associated with the use of the herbicide (weedkiller) glyphosate – including FAQs – can be viewed here
  • Medway Council’s O&S committee report from August 2019 can be viewed here.

Norse and Medway Council are in the process of carrying out extensive research into the use of herbicides and alternative ways of  controlling plant growth in our greenspaces. This includes reduced mowing regimes on verges and in our parks to create meadows and the use of environmentally friendly controls. A second report is due to go to the O&S committee on the 5th December. This meeting is open to the public for anyone who would like to attend.

The Medway Urban Greenspaces Forum does not endorse a view one way or the other: we are a Forum for discussion and debate and it is up to individuals and their Friends Groups to express their own views.

As part of the move to ban the use of herbicides a petition is circulating and can be downloaded for printing here.

There will also be copies of the petition available at the next Medway Urban Greenspaces Forum meeting on the 6th November.