The District Council joins forces with partners on herbicide-free maintenance trial

Posted on: Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Newark and Sherwood District Council is working with partners to conduct a herbicide-free maintenance trial in Southwell.

In designated areas of Southwell, Nottinghamshire County Council will forgo the usual second spray of herbicides and the District Council will support this by conducting thorough and regular sweeping of the roads and pathways to clean debris and reduce fertile grounds for weeds.

During the trial period the situation will be kept under review to ensure that obstructions do not occur on the highway, drainage systems are not blocked, and weeds do not damage the fabric of the roads and footpaths.

As part of the trial, the District Council has committed to not using glyphosate for 2023 on all open spaces and housing communal land. Since 2020, no glyphosate has been used in Southwell’s parks and cemeteries.

Councillor Emma Oldham, Portfolio Holder for Biodiversity and Environmental Services at Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “I’m thrilled that we are involved in this ambitious herbicide-free maintenance trial in Southwell. With global insect populations declining at an alarming rate, this effort aims to boost and support biodiversity within the district and allow wildflowers, insects, birds and mammals to thrive, alongside reducing impacts on people’s health, and river and soil pollution.”

Similar trials have found that not only can limiting herbicide use provide health and safety benefits, but it can also help biodiversity thrive. While some spaces still require maintenance to remove all plant materials for safety issues, many other areas can be more gently managed, with potential for some to be even left for spaces such as wildflower meadows.

In Southwell various wildflower species have been identified including Clovers, Storksbill, Forget-Me-Nots, Violets, Foxglove, Wild Garlic and many more which will be able to thrive in the spaces included in the trial.

Councillor Oldham continues: “We are working in partnership with Nottinghamshire County Council VIA to deliver this trial, and we have also been working closely with Green Southwell and Southwell Town Council on the planning and delivery. This collaborative energy magnifies Southwell's ambition to flourish as an environmentally conscious township.

“I anticipate that Southwell's commitment to protecting local wildlife and preserving its natural heritage will serve as a catalyst, encouraging neighbouring towns to adopt measures to gradually eliminate or significantly reduce pesticide usage within their own areas of management.”

Glyphosate will not be used in the following District Council maintained areas:

  • Bishops Drive Cemetery
  • Burgage Lane, Burgage Court
  • Easthorpe, Bramley Close Play Area
  • Easthorpe, Potwell Close
  • Holy Trinity Cemetery
  • Kings Court Flats
  • Lower Kirklington, Road Pathway
  • Norwood Gardens, Communal Areas
  • Norwood Gardens, Townmill Close
  • Westhorpe Bungalows
  • Westgate, Coghill Court

The trial is supported by Pesticide Action Network (PAN), a UK based charity focused on tackling the problems caused by pesticides and promoting safe and sustainable alternatives in agriculture, urban areas, homes and gardens.

Newark and Sherwood District Council will be closely monitoring the results of this herbicide-free trial. If successful, the Council will consider working with more partners to expand this glyphosate-free approach across more areas of the district.