Residents asked their thoughts on weedkiller use in Eastbourne’s Old Town

Children protesting against weedkillers outside Eastbourne council
Children protesting against weedkillers outside Eastbourne council

The public is being asked for its views on the use of weedkiller in the Old Town part of Eastbourne.

Eastbourne Borough Council has launched a survey on the subject, which residents can answer until Monday, September 23, at 5pm.

Children fight the use of pesticides in Eastbourne

The authority says it has received comments from locals about its weed control on highways in Eastbourne, which it carries out on behalf of East Sussex County Council.

This includes using the weedkiler glyphosate, which scientists argue is harmful to bees and other insects – and some experts even claim is connected to causing cancer in humans. Germany has pledged to ban the chemical by 2023.

A spokesperson for Eastbourne council said, “Where possible we avoid the use of weedkiller, however there are some areas where alternative methods are not currently available or effective on a large scale, for example on hard surfaces such as paths, garage blocks and highways.

“In the past these hard surfaces were often ‘blanket treated’, meaning the spray was applied to cover the path, whether weeds were present or not. This is no longer our practice.

“When our contractors do use weedkiller they do so in a targeted way to reduce the amount used. This prevents excess herbicide being lost into the environment.

“If weeds are not tackled effectively they can present a trip hazard to residents and make effective street cleansing difficult.

“The alternative to using weedkiller is to remove weeds manually. This is a less effective and significantly more costly approach which would not deal with the weed roots and would mean the weeds quickly grow back.”

This survey is intended for residents of Old Town, but residents from other wards in Eastbourne and further afield are also welcome to share their views.

It is part of a pilot to inform decisions about Eastbourne Borough Council’s approach to weed control in Old Town.

The council says it would carry out a wider survey before making any changes to other parts of Eastbourne.

Access the survey here