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Controlling weeds

Our weed treatment programme extending across 243 parishes began on 24 June, to address weed growth which can be a safety hazard. 

Earlier this year, at the Highways and Transport Committee, our approach to weed treatment was reviewed. To inform the Committee’s decision making, a survey had been issued to the 250 parish, town, city and district councils across Cambridgeshire, resulting in 162 responses.

Following consultation, a decision was taken to reintroduce planned chemical weed treatment twice a year, as a minimum, within built-up areas in villages and towns, inside the 40mph limit or below.

Although some communities had welcomed the reduction in chemical weed treatment, a large number did not. The Committee carefully considered all the feedback provided by our residents and district, town and parish councils and decided to carry out a programme of planned chemical weed treatment, twice a year. The authority did receive responses from seven areas confirming they did not wish to be part of the weed treatment programme, so they have been excluded. For those areas – Cambridge City Council, Caxton, Duxford, Lolworth, Morborne, Burwell and Girton Parish Councils - the authority is working to appropriately support their alternative treatment regimes.

Chemical weed treatment is applied directly to any weeds in the gullies of roads and at the back of footways abutting a building, wall, or fence line. A period of about three to five weeks is typically required for the weed treatment to take effect. After this, road sweepers are deployed to remove dead weeds.

A second programme of treatment will take place in October. This will help to get the weeds under control before the next growing season.

We will keep this programme under review and if excessive weed growth is reported, we’ll treat those areas accordingly.

The detailed list of parishes that will receive the treatment during the first two weeks of the programme is shown below. This list will be updated with the full programme soon.

Week commencing 24 June 2024

  • Fen Drayton
  • Swavesey
  • Over
  • Willingham
  • Longstanton
  • Rampton
  • Oakington & Westwick
  • Cottenham
  • Chatteris
  • Benwick
  • Wimblington
  • Doddington
  • Manea
  • Christchurch
  • March
  • Westry

Week commencing 1 July 2024

  • Stow Cum Quy
  • West Wratting & Carlton
  • Six mile Bottom
  • West Wickham
  • Streetly End
  • Horseheath
  • Shudy-Castle Camps & Bartlow
  • Wisbech
  • Broad Drove
  • Newton
  • Tydd St Giles
  • Gorefield
  • Leverington
  • Wisbech St Mary
  • Parson Drove
  • Huntingdon

Week commencing 8 July 2024

  • Fen Drayton
  • Whaddon
  • Litlington
  • Steeple Morden
  • Guilden Morden
  • Croydon
  • Tadlow
  • Shingay
  • Orwell
  • Wimpole
  • Arrington
  • Hatley
  • Little Gransden
  • Longstowe
  • Eltisley
  • Croxton
  • Graveley
  • Papworth Everard
  • Elsworth
  • Knapwell
  • Boxworth
  • Conington
  • Dry Drayton
  • Madingley
  • St Ives

Week commencing 15 July 2024

  • Hemmingford Grey and Abbots
  • Fenstanton
  • Houghton
  • Wyton
  • Wisbech

How does the council deal with weeds?

Chemical weed treatment is applied directly to any weeds in the gullies of roads and at the back of footways abutting a building, wall, or fence line. A period of about three to five weeks is typically required for the weed treatment to take effect. Subsequently, road sweepers are deployed to remove dead weeds from the gullies. In cases where weeds persist at the back of footways, we will work with district councils' street cleansing teams and our own contractors to ensure any persistent weeds are removed.

Do you spray treatment on weeds growing on private land?

We will not apply treatment where private land. such as lawns and shrub/flower beds, meets the footway.

Do you go out in all weathers?

If rain is forecast we will not carry out treatment on that day as the treatment needs time to dry on the plant to take full effect. The weed treatment schedule is weather-dependent, and the schedule published is subject to change. However, we will make every endeavour to keep to the published timetable as we appreciate how vital the weed treatment programme is.

How can I report weed growth in my area?

You can report any issues relating to weed growth to the Green Infrastructure team by emailing greeninfrastructure@cambridgeshire.gov.uk or by using our Highways Reporting Tool.

We appreciate your assistance and cooperation to keep weed growth under control.

What can I do to prevent weed growth?

Weeds grow in the debris that builds up on the side the road next to the gullies. With regular sweeping the debris does not build up and the weeds have less chance of surviving. If you can keep the section of kerb outside of your property clear of debris by sweeping, this will help us to reduce the amount of herbicides we need to use.

What impact does the chemical weed treatment have on the environment?

It is important to note that the assessment of the environmental impact of specific chemicals is complex and subject to ongoing scientific research and regulatory evaluation. The county council consider all points raised regarding the use of herbicide. We consult with relevant experts and regulatory bodies and make informed decisions on the use of chemical weed spraying, taking into account both the benefits of weed control and the potential environmental risks.