Mansfield council plans to bring weed spraying in-house after recent work went ‘horribly wrong’

Mansfield Council plans to train 24 workers to carry out weed spraying after admitting recent work was ‘intermittent and patchy’.

By Andrew Topping
Thursday, 23rd September 2021, 6:30 am

The authority’s portfolio holder for the environment was quizzed at the latest full council meeting after one member described recent work as going ‘horribly wrong’.

The council undertakes weed spraying on behalf of Nottinghamshire Council, allocating more than £160,000 to the work each year.

The work involves weed spraying on highways, pedestrian routes and verges.

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Mansfield Council reported its weed spraying this summer had not met expectations.

However, the authority says work conducted by a contractor between July and September did not meet expectations, with park officers finding ‘hotspots’ where weeds remained prevalent.

Councillors were told the district-wide work was ‘unsatisfactory’, caused in part by hot weather and because the application of weed spray on kerbsides had been ‘ineffective’.

The council now plans to train officers in conducting weed spraying in-house, to ‘mitigate the risk’ of it continuing.

Coun Andy Burgin, council environment portfolio holder, said: “I acknowledge the performance of our weed-spraying contract has not met our expectations.

“Intermittent and patchy take-up of the kerbside was apparent, with areas monitored by park’s officers and hotspots fed back to the contractors.

“However, the result continued to be unsatisfactory, partly to do with hot weather and ineffective kerbside application.

“At the beginning of September, the contractor confirmed it had completed weed spraying across the district, including remedial work.

“Recleansing will follow to clear dead vegetation.

“To mitigate the risk of this situation continuing, 24 neighbourhood services operatives are to be trained, to increase in-house capacity for doing this.”

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Coun Martin Wright, who raised the issue and described the work as going ‘horribly wrong’, welcomed the news.

He said: “I don’t think this surprises many people, but I think this needed to get out in the public domain.

“Coun Mick Barton and I have been making the case for the return to the annual weed-spraying programme in-house for several years.

“I’m glad to see this is likely to happen in future, providing of course we don’t cut back on grass cutting and street cleaning if staff [in these departments] are involved.”

Coun Burgin confirmed the weed-spraying process will be reviewed in 2022-23.

This, he adds, is subject to the county council confirming contractual arrangements with the district councils, and ‘our appetite of delivering this work’.

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