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Weed changes set to be discussed

A review of the way weeds on the highways are treated across the county will be discussed at the Highways and Transport Committee next week (Tuesday, 23 January).

The original weedkilling programme was set as part of the 2022/23 budget setting process, the council stopped the cycles of chemical weed treatment, and concentrated on removing those causing a safety hazard and a nuisance or as part of preparation before other works were carried out. The change did not affect how poisonous weeds are treated.

During the summer of last year, a high number of concerns were raised by residents and members of the council about this approach. As a result, a review of the change was carried out and it found the council hadn’t engaged with key stakeholders about the revised policy relating to weeds.

The review looked at the impact of those changes and an engagement exercise was carried out with county councillors, district councils and town and parish councils. The committee will hear about the findings and the concerns raised from those responding to the survey which included, negative impacts on amenity, drainage, roads and footway surfaces, finances and reduction in carbon.

The committee is being asked to adopt new standards that could see weeds being treated twice a year. If agreed, a further engagement exercise will be carried out to seek views on the new policy.

Cllr Alex Beckett, chair of the Highways and Transport Committee at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “I know we didn’t get this change right, which is why I asked for a review of the policy. While some communities really appreciated the reduction in chemical weed killing, a large number did not. Local decision making is important, we have listened to that feedback and hope these new changes, if approved, will allow those communities who wish to continue without chemical weed killing to do so whilst allowing those who preferred the previous regime to go back to that.”

The committee papers can be found on our website and the meeting will be live streamed on the council’s YouTube channel.