The Council declared a climate emergency in January 2019 and has been taking bold steps to reduce the impact of all its services on the environment.
Our Safer, Cleaner, Greener team is responsible for making sure that all of Calderdale’s public spaces are kept clean, safe and attractive for residents and visitors to use and enjoy.
Currently this includes using weed killers such as glyphosate to help keep pathways clear and prevent open areas such as cemeteries becoming overgrown.
Responding to public concerns about glyphosate the Council set targets in 2016 to reduce its usage by 10% each year. Only around 800 litres are now used compared to 2000 litres in 2016, which represents a significant reduction, but the Council now wants to go further and stop usage altogether.
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Services and Communities, Cllr Susan Press said:
“The Council has been exploring a range of alternative options to keep weeds at bay and which are kinder to the environment.
“The way we feel about our public places is changing as we learn more about the impact of our actions on the environment around us. In the past we thought it was important that nature was controlled and we used weed killers to remove some species in preference for others.
“Now we have a better understanding of the vital role of biodiversity, including some weeds, which help to create a sustainable habitat for our wildlife and provides them with food and shelter.”
Safer, Cleaner, Greener operatives now carry out spot spraying rather than blanket application to limit usage. They are also trialling manual techniques such as brushing, strimming or steaming and non-hazardous foam treatments, although these are only effective in the short term and are not always appropriate for every area.
The team is also sharing information with other local authorities who are experimenting with alternative methods of organic and biodegradable weed control.
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environment, Cllr Scott Patient said:
“The Council is leading the way in protecting Calderdale’s distinctive landscapes and I’m delighted that we are reviewing our use of glyphosate.
“This complements the work that we’ve been doing for several years to support local biodiversity and our commitment to going even further, for example our community growing scheme is designed to encourage people to plant and pick their own fruit and vegetables on Council owned green spaces.
“And our verges and open spaces bloom annually with wildflowers thanks to our ‘Corridors of Colour’ project, which transforms unused pieces of land into the perfect home for butterflies, bees and birds and other wildlife.”