Major investment in weed control made by the county council
Northumberland County Council is investing Â£125,000 in improving the way it tackles weeds in towns and villages.
In recent years, most weed spraying treatments have been contracted out.
However, this year, the local authority is employing 10 extra staff to ensure the in-house teams have the capacity to undertake the work themselves.
For the first time, the council will be adding a completely harmless blue-coloured dye to the treatment so the public can see for themselves where has been treated, at the same time reducing waste or overuse of spray
Coun Glen Sanderson, cabinet member for environment and local services, said: “The county has a well-deserved reputation as a green and pleasant place to live and visit and it’s important we do all we can to keep it looking its best.
“We’re recruiting extra staff in each of the five Local Area Council areas, to enable our dedicated workforce to be far more responsive when tackling weed growth and improve how this important aspect of our service is delivered.
“As part of the weed control activity, we will be adding a blue dye indicator into the herbicide used to spray hard landscape areas.
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“People can be reassured this is a non-toxic, non-staining liquid to help ensure the weed spray is uniformly applied everywhere that it should be.”
While it isn’t possible to prevent weed growth altogether, council staff know their own areas and can be more responsive to local weather conditions, ensuring improvements to the quality and coverage of the spraying operation.
As the chemical itself can take up to two weeks to kill the weeds, the addition of the blue dye will remove any uncertainty about whether or not an area has been treated.
The equipment used to treat weeds in some road channels means that the blue dye can’t be added but in these areas where the road meets the pavements there will be a white residue left instead of a blue one.
The dye itself is water soluble, doesn’t affect the environment and also breaks down in the sun so it won’t be visible for more than the ten to 14 days it takes to kill the weeds.