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Residents can opt out of chemical weed spray of city roads

Published: 11 August 2021

Residents can opt out of chemical weed spray of city roads Opt out of chemical weed spray

Residents in Exeter are being given the chance to opt out of this year’s second weed spray of the city’s roads and pavements to reduce the use of potentially–damaging chemical controls.

A total of 28 opt-outs were received for the previous spray in May, with a total of 44 enquiries about the initiative. Anyone who opted out of the first spray will still need to contact the City Council if they want to opt out of the second spray.

Over the last four years the Public & Green Space team have reduced the use of chemical controls significantly.

But in another effort to increase the reductions even further, the team are offering residents the opportunity to opt out of the second Highways weed spray of 2021.

The latest spray will start during the week commencing Monday 6 September, weather permitting, and will take up to 28 working days to complete all the roads in Exeter.

Cllr David Harvey, Lead Councillor for City Management, said that residents considering applying to opt out, must be able to commit to maintaining part, or all, of their road, cul-de-sac, or street, depending on size.

“People can do this either individually, or as part of a residential group. We will review each request to opt out on a case by case basis, and if residents are able to demonstrate that they have adequate support, and are able to maintain their areas, we will approve the request.”

In 2019 Exeter City Council committed to a Net Zero Carbon Exeter by 2030.

As part of that commitment, biodiversity has become a significant part of the Public and Green Spaces strategy. Over the last four years the Green Space team, working with partners in Devon Wildlife Trust and Devon County Council, have worked to build on a biodiversity programme, started by the ‘Wild City’, wild flower meadows.

In 2019 and 2020, this foundation progressed, and now, across the city, highways grass verges are maintained as part of an extensive, and interlinked, meadow grass programme.

This programme helps to support habitat for dramatically declining invertebrate and pollinating species.

The Council recognised that continuing to build on existing biodiversity work was only one step towards managing an increasingly recognised environmental crisis.

Understanding the environmental impacts of the Public and Green Space service, including the use of chemical weed control, was another.

To help combat species and biodiversity loss, the Council also committed in 2019 to investigating safe alternatives to weed control, as well as actively pursuing reductions in the use of chemical controls wherever practicable.

If residents would like to support efforts to reduce the use of chemical controls, then they should contact the Public & Green Space team on 01392 262630, or email

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