Weed treatment on highways – definitions and process

I understand that the current Devon County Council policy regarding weed treatment on highways is limited to the hand removal of excessive weed growth.

* Please define “excessive” in terms of weed density and / or height.
* Please advise at what stage of weed growth in a footway or carriageway surfacing reactive maintenance works are deemed necessary to avoid having to repair the surfacing.
Under the policy are buddleia saplings growing in the footway deemed to be excessive weed growth.

Section 2.1 of the Devon County Council Policy identifies “2.1 Limited control of excessive weed growth on hard surfaces such as carriageways, footways and cycle ways where the size and density of the weed growth may create a hazard to the highway user or result in serious damage to the structure or surface, on a reactive basis”.
The local Highway Officer will determine if weed growth should be referred to the Community Payback Service for action.

No specific plants are identified in the policy as excessive weed growth.
a) the difference in the extent of traffic management necessary according to chapter 8 of the traffic signs manual, between hand removal and spraying, assuming that the weeds are on the kerb line or on the footway within 500mm of the kerb,

The requirement for traffic management will be assessed on a case by case basis by the supervisor of any weed management works.

b) the difference in cost of the two methods,

Weed spaying is included in our Highway Term Maintenance Contract at a rate per square metre.

Instead when we commission the Community Payback Service we only pay the hourly costs of the Supervisor. Current rate is £22.85 per hour. The cost per square metre will vary from site to site.

We are therefore unable to make comparisons between the two methods from our records held.

c) the difference in effectiveness of the two methods

Hand pulling of weeds does effectively remove visible weeds, but if the roots are not pulled regrowth is likely.
Weed spraying normally kills existing growth, but unsightly dead weeds remain