Aberdeenshire communities asked for help in war against the pavement weeds

North-east communities are being encouraged to help control the spread of pavement weeds.

Aberdeenshire Council has taken the difficult decision to suspend all pavement weed control while it focuses on maintaining critical activities which maintain the health, safety and wellbeing of both residents and staff.

Recent months have seen significant changes to many aspects of our lives and work as the COVID-19 pandemic has developed. 

The council’s Head of Roads, Landscape and Waste Services, Philip McKay, said the authority had reacted quickly and effectively to carry out core works only – a move which is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.

He said: “Many regular activities have come to a stop for now and groups of council staff have been redeployed to focus on essential tasks. 

“Scottish Government advice is ever-evolving and we are preparing for a phased return to some roles, although it is clear we won’t be resuming everything we would normally do. It is also very important to stress that that we, as a council, are obliged to follow the guidance, therefore our own advice and guidance to communities will change accordingly.”

In terms of grounds maintenance activities, which have almost entirely been put on hold in recent months apart from provision of burial services, the council is currently planning what work can recommence in the short term and how to resource this.

As a result, the decision has been taken to suspend weed-spraying while the authority tailors its operation to deal with critical activities.

The council is now encouraging business owners and residents to assist it by continuing to show the pride they have demonstrated in their communities so far during this difficult time by helping to control weed growth on the section of pavement in front of their property. 

The preferred removal of such growth by volunteers would be through the use of trowels, hoes and forks as weed-spraying must be carried out by a trained and certificated person.

Mr McKay explained: “We recently asked that all major community gardening or landscape tasks in council parks, open spaces and other publicly accessible areas cease meantime while the lockdown restrictions are in place.

“Through feedback, we have been encouraged by the level of support from people who want to be doing this to care for their communities.

“While we would again stress that large scale public landscape works such as grass-cutting should not continue during the lockdown period, control of pavement weeds really would help in maintaining a high amenity standard in towns and villages whilst our operatives continue with priority work.”

Once restrictions have lifted and Aberdeenshire Council can resume the wider landscaping tasks in a safe manner, it will encourage and welcome community involvement across the region.

If you wish to contribute to your community when the restrictions have lifted, please get in touch by calling Landscape Services on 03456 081205.