Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Councillors say weed killing 'not their job'

TOWN councillors have accused Oxfordshire County Council of avoiding its responsibility to tackle weeds in Henley.

The town council has taken over the spraying of herbicide on roads and verges after the county council withdrew its funding for the procedure as part of a series of cuts.

At a meeting of the council’s recreation and amenities committee, councillors said they were happy to step in but the county council should still be “held accountable” for the decision.

Mayor Kellie Hinton said: “They have cut funding and we’ve picked up the slack so then people are basically paying twice for the same thing in their council tax.”

Councillor Glen Lambert added: “We are effectively guarding and disguising that council from responsibility. They should be held accountable for that choice next time the election comes around.”

Councillor Ian Reissmann said: “There is a general point here that if the county and district councils decide not to do things that are their jobs we will fill the gap.

“We do things we would normally expect others to do. There’s an awful lot we have to do to keep the town the way we want it.”

Town clerk Janet Wheeler added that parks manager Gareth Bartle currently sprays twice a year but more may be needed to eradicate the weeds.

“I have concerns that we only do two sprays per year. That will never get rid of weeds, it’s not strong enough,” she said.

Mrs Wheeler suggested appealing for “litter champions” in the town who would volunteer to pick weeds and clear rubbish on their own roads.

Councillor David Eggleton, who helped launch the Gainsborough Residents’ Association, offered to help those who wanted to create a community group.

A spokesman for the county council, which stopped weed spraying six years ago, said the effectiveness of the herbicide was reduced due to EU regulations and so was “no longer worth using it at all”.

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