Over the last few months the Council has been taking a close look at the use of herbicides on its greenspaces.

As has been reported here, Medway Council does allow the use of herbicides by their contractor Norse. The chemicals are glyphosate based and used to control plant growth in a restricted and controlled way.

The Council’s Oversight and Scrutiny (O&S) Committee for Culture, Regeneration and Environment has been looking into the need for these chemicals to be used as extensively as they are at the moment. At its latest meeting this month the O&S Committee has recommended that they should no longer be used in children’s play areas and around the base of trees on any Council owned land. Instead the control of vegetation in these places will be done in the old fashioned way, by hand!

To be clear, 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.

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

Norse and Medway Council will continue to carry 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 our parks, to create meadows, and the use of environmentally friendly controls.

It is also clear from public reaction to this issue that a complete ban is still something that many people would like to see in place.

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.