Overhanging trees and trees making Calderdale roads an ‘adventure safari’, say Tories

Overgrown flower beds and overhanging trees making roads an “adventure safari” amount to neglect, claim Calderdale’s Conservatives.

By John Greenwood - Local Democracy Reporter
Thursday, 15th July 2021, 11:33 am
Updated Thursday, 15th July 2021, 11:34 am
Complaints have been made about land around roads
Complaints have been made about land around roads

Calderdale Council’s phasing out use of some herbicides, particularly the controversial weedkiller glysophate, has also had an impact, group members say.

The council acknowledges there have been issues but says staff are catching up on the backlog of work following a necessary review into safety procedures, training and equipment after a recent accident.

The statement from the council’s Conservative group, which is led by Coun Steven Leigh, says: “Calderdale Council is failing to manage our physical environment – to such an extent that it is close to outright neglect.

Sign up to our daily Halifax Courier Today newsletter

“Our wonderful parks are being woefully managed, with once proud flower beds overgrown.

“Many of our roads are now close to resembling an adventure safari, with overhanging trees akin to the rainforest canopy and some grass verges almost as tall as the savanna.

“Conservative councillors are receiving many complaints from residents regarding this issue. Some of the hotspots include Sowerby New Road, Brackenbed Lane and Bramston Street Park in Rastrick – to name but a few.”

The council’s Cabinet agreed to drastically scale back use of glysophate two years ago following health concerns about the chemical’s use.

The Conservatives argue while “substantially more costly and labour intensive alternatives” have been trialled, “the weeds have taken control.”

During this grass cutting season, there have also been technical difficulties with ride-on cutting equipment, says the group, which also has concerns about potential hazards posed by overhanging trees .

“Calderdale’s maintenance teams are fighting an uphill battle to tackle this weed infestation and are being let down by the council’s failure to follow their own procedures and maintenance schedules,” said the Conservative group.

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet member for Public Services and Communities, Coun Jenny Lynn (Lab, Park), said the council’s grass cutting maintenance schedule includes 26 parks, 52 recreation grounds, 159 open spaces and gardens, nine cemeteries and 30 closed churchyards, plus highway grass verges. There had been issues which were now being tackled.

“Our relatively small team does all it can to keep on top of this work, however we do acknowledge there is currently a backlog of work due to a necessary review into safety procedures, training and equipment following a recent accident.

“This review is now complete and staff are working hard to catch up, prioritising the most urgent work.

“Focused resources are also being deployed to specific areas of the borough to make a real difference as quickly as possible,” she said.

Coun Lynn said the council was also exploring innovations, including the use of robotic mowing equipment and alternative, environmentally friendly weed treatments as it continued to reduce our use of the herbicide glyphosate as far as possible.

“We’re happy to hear feedback and suggestions from residents about further alternative approaches to our maintenance schedule, and will continue to regularly inspect and take action to address problems with overgrown vegetation and trees as quickly as our resource will allow,” she said.