Agenda item - Items referred from Council
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Items referred from Council
- Meeting of Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee, Tuesday, 28th June, 2016 4.00pm (Item 6.)
Item referred from the last meeting of Full Council held on 24 March 2016 (copy attached).
(i) Farm Green playground
(ii) Pesticide-Free Brighton
(iii) Withdean Park- Fenced Area for Dogs
(i) Farm Green Playground- Jane Van Ransberg
6.1 The Committee considered a petition referred from the Full Council meeting of 24 March 2016 and signed by 783 people requesting the council renovate and improve Farm Green Playground.
6.2 The Chair provided the following response:
“Thank you for your petition and we do recognise the importance of play spaces to the development of children and young people.
As part of the background work progressing for the new Open Spaces Strategy, a review is being undertaken of all the play areas in the city. This review will help inform future decisions on the investment in play areas in light of the reducing financial resources available.
In the meantime, city parks officers have met with the friends group on two occasions and are working with them to improve the play equipment at Farm Green.
I’d like to thank you all for your involvement and very much hope that the council and the local community can continue to work on getting some improvements to the Playground.”
6.3 RESOLVED- That the petition be noted.
(ii) Pesticide-Free Brighton/Notice of Motion: Use of Pesticides
6.4 The Committee considered a petition referred from the Full Council meeting of 24 March 2016 and signed by 850 people requesting the council cease use of hazardous toxic pesticides and a Notice of Motion referred from the same meeting requesting the end of the use of glyphosate for weed killing and for the implementation of a trial in the use of non-chemical and mechanical alternatives for pesticide control.
6.5 The Chair provided the following response to both items due to the similarity in the topic matter:
“It is acknowledged that the reliance upon chemical methods of weed control is not sustainable.
It is in fact the International Agency on Cancer Research that are suggesting that glyphosate probably could cause cancer, not that it probably does, and there is a distinction between the two.
But he issue here is that now the issue has been raised there is a duty to ensure user safety is considered and Local Authorities and landowners will have to make alternative arrangements for a more integrated method of weed control and not just rely on weed killers.
It is important to remember that the Council complies with Control of Substances hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH). This is quite important as it ensures the spread of herbicides to the area being treated and the frequency is confined to no more than necessary.
Where reasonably practicable to do so, alternative methods are used as mulching around trees and in parks and shrub beds.
Some non-native species such as Giant Hogweed and Japanese Knotweed are incredibly difficult to control and are a serious problem in many areas. Chemical applications are currently the only form of weed control for these particularly invasive species.
Government guidance exists in the form of DEFRA guidance, which the Council complies with, which again, makes clear the need for selective treatment rather than blanket coverage. EU directives are that we must “keep the use of pesticides to levels that are economically and ecologically justified.
We do only allocate a budget of £30,000 for weed control on our hard surfaces across the entire City, so our actual usage is quite low in reality.
The Council does also trial alternative solutions, such as steam treatment, foam products and flame devices. So far, these are not proven to be cost effective or a reasonably practicable solution to the problem.
We also need to remember that the Council has a legal duty to ensure footpaths are clear from trip hazards, which weeds can be a contributing factor toward.
We are again meeting with the Pesticide Action Network in July to see if they have any alternative suggestions that will enable the Council to maintain its statutory duties, within the small budget available that we have to carry out this activity. And I will speak to officers before the next contract is let”.
6.6 Councillor Greenbaum asked for clarification that no new trials would be initiated.
6.7 The Waste Contracts & Projects Manager confirmed that the council would be trailing new methods and the council would shortly be receiving a report from the Pesticide Action Network that would set out their recommendations on alternative, pesticide free options. Trials would take place over August 2016.
6.8 The Chair stated that any suggestions on alternatives methods of weed control would be readily received.
6.9 RESOLVED- That the Committee note the petition and Notice of Motion.
(iii) Withdean Park- Fenced Area for Dogs
6.10 The Committee considered a petition referred from the Full Council meeting of 24 March 2016 and signed by 1980 people requesting the council retain the fenced area of Withdean Park used by local dog owners. The petition had been debated at the meeting of Full Council on 24 March.
6.11 The Chair provided the following response:
“The request made of this Committee by Full Council was to acknowledge Withdean Dog Walking Community as a group.
I am also pleased that the council has been working with your group to maintain the fences and replace the gates and thank you for all your efforts. I believe that you held a work day last Sunday and hope that went well.
6.12 RESOLVED- That the petition be noted and that Members agree the Council recognise Withdean Dog Walking Community as a community group.