New contractor for weed spraying in Mansfield sought after previous work deemed ‘poor and unsatisfactory’

New contractor for weed spraying sought after previous work deemed ‘poor and unsatisfactory’

By Andrew Topping
Friday, 4th February 2022, 2:32 pm

Mansfield Council will seek at least three quotes to conduct some district-wide weed-spraying services after not renewing its previous contract due to ‘poor’ and ‘unsatisfactory’ results.

Concerns were raised about the weed-spraying services during a ouncil meeting last autumn, with councillors told some of the previous work was ‘patchy’ and did not meet the council’s expectations.

The authority also confirmed it plans to train 24 of its neighbourhood services staff to ‘mitigate’ for potential poor work in the future, with the service to be reviewed in 2022-23.

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Coun Andy Burgin, Mansfield Council portfolio holder for the environment.

Now the authority has launched a procurement process to find a contractor for the upcoming phase of works, which will see all adopted highways, paths and alleyways sprayed with weed control by May 31.

A document approved by the authority’s head of neighbourhoods confirms the work will cost up to £20,000 and is funded through Nottinghamshire Council’s highways maintenance work.

Once the contract has been finalised and an agreement is made with a potential contractor, the work can begin.

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Commenting in the full council meeting in September, Coun Andy Burgin, portfolio holder for the environment, said changes were coming to address the ‘unsatisfactory’ work.

He said: “I acknowledge the performance of our weed spraying contract has not met our expectations this year.

“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 conditions and ineffective kerbside application.

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

Councillors welcomed news some of the services will be brought in-house in the future.

Coun Martin Wright, member for Holly, who raised the issue and described the weed works as going ‘horribly wrong’, said: “I don’t think this surprises many people.

“We 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.”

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