Weeds sprout across Greenwich as Council admits it cannot stop them

Amid concerns that Greenwich’s streets are covered in weeds, the Council has admitted that it cannot stop weeds from growing and that no one had been appointed to deal with the problem at the start of June.


In answer to questions about weeds growing across the his ward and elsewhere in the Borough from Conservative Councillor Matt Clare, Council Officers wrote that “It is not possible to prevent weed growth”.


This year’s weed growth follows on from years of failure in the area, with questions from Eltham Councillor Spencer Drury eliciting an apology in 2012 and a suggestion last summer that it was the ‘warm, wet weather’ which had made the weed growth worse than normal.


To help make the point Matt and Spencer are using the twitter hashtag ‘#weedsinbloom’  and attaching photos of some of the weeds which are blossoming across many different areas of Greenwich.  Many of these weeds are growing in the gutters, where lack of street sweeping has meant that detritus has built up in which plants can flourish.


Spencer said “I was taken aback to read the admission from Greenwich Council that they could not prevent weed growth, which is probably true if they don’t appoint a contractor to deal with it.  I can’t believe that no one had been appointed to deal with the weeds at the start of June which seems to me to be yet another failure of Council organisation and political will.  Quite simply Greenwich Council are letting residents down.”


Weeds growing in Cllr Matt Clare's Eltham South Ward

Matt added “Obviously Spencer and I are most concerned about Eltham and New Eltham, but on a recent cycle ride around the Borough, I was disappointed to see that the situation was as bad in Abbey Wood as it was in the South of the Borough.  It makes me wonder why Labour Councillors aren’t up in arms about this very public failure of the Council.”


The full reply to Matt's email reads as follows: 


"Dear Councillor Clare


Re: Weeds in several roads on the Avery Hill Estate


Thank you for your enquiry below.


The Council uses a specialist external contractor to treat weeds in all of the boroughs roads.


It is not possible to prevent weed growth and there is strict legislation regarding the herbicides we can use, which must have a very low toxicity to humans, animals and insects and are safe to be used in areas open to the public and their pets.  Repeated applications are required to control the weeds and our borough wide program consists of three to four applications over the growing season.


We are currently in the process of appointing a contractor who will carry out the weed treatment programme for the next 2 years and hope to have a contract in place by mid-summer. Once the weeds have been sprayed it will take 3 - 4 weeks for the weeds to die off, they will then be removed during the scheduled weekly sweep.


I hope this addresses your concerns."