Chiswick 'Choking in a Forest of Weeds Due to Neglect'

Claim made that people are being injured due to unchecked growth on roadside

Weeds on Rothschild Road, W4 growing higher than a car
Weeds on Rothschild Road, W4 growing higher than a car..


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Local councillors say they are receiving a significant number of complaints about the profusion of weeds currently growing across the Chiswick area.

In one case that was highlighted to us it is claimed that the lack of maintenance on paths and pavements has led to a person being injured.

Cynthia, a children’s nanny who is visually impaired, was cycling back from Richmond Park along Great Chertsey Road beside Quinton Hogg Memorial Ground earlier this month with two children in her care. A bramble was overhanging the path and she was badly cut when she collided with it.

Children's nanny suffered cuts after colliding with bramble

Her employer, Genevieve Robson, said that it was lucky that she wasn’t more severely injured. She added, “This has been an ongoing problem not just in this location but all along Devonshire Road, Balfern Grove and Eastbourne Terrace where people let their hedges and rose bushes overhang the pavement pushing people into traffic trying to avoid them and scratching people in the face. I have complained frequently to the council and to individual property owners to no avail. I once even went out with my shears and cut back a rose bush myself. There are quite a few people in Chiswick with visual impairments and it is infuriating that these hazards are left to injure them.”

Brambles over path by A316 Chertsey Road

Another resident who raised the same issue said, “I’m sceptical about claims that more environmentally friendly weedkiller is causing the problem. In my view Chiswick is choking in a forest of weeds due to neglect and any complaints are disregarded. Councils are under a lot of pressure and this is one area where they are choosing to make cutbacks.”

When we asked Hounslow Council for comment they did not respond but Councillor John Todd, who says he has received numerous complaints about the issue, wrote to the borough’s contractor Hounslow Highways.

They replied, “Please note that the increased problem of weed growth is not isolated to Hounslow, but is also being experienced by neighbouring boroughs, which may be partly a result of the very temperate climate experienced this year.

“Hounslow Highways has recently changed the way we tackle weeds on the project network. We stopped using glyphosate weed spray in order to reduce the environmental impact of using pesticides on the network. Glyphosate is to be banned for sale by the European Union in 2021, so the decision was taken to be proactive and test new ways of working to understand what the best removal method would be going forward. Additional resource has been brought in since June 2020, essentially doubling the ward-based cleansing team, to facilitate the manual removal (hoeing, hand-pulling, rooting) of weeds on the network. This method is slower, but if done properly, can provide an effective solution to weed growth, particularly as it lets us reach areas previously difficult to weed and does not kill the surrounding vegetation due to inaccuracy, and so we ask that you bear with us while we employ this new methodology.”

The part of W4 in Ealing borough also appears to have an issue with overgrown weeds. A resident of Rothschild Road sent us a picture showing weeds by the side of the road which had grown higher than parked cars. He said, “I’m still paying my council tax…so where’s it going?”

Weeds on road in Ealing borough managed street

Southfield ward Councillor Gary Malcolm said, "Sadly for many years Ealing Council has had a reduced service in street sweeping, cleaning, weeding and maintaining our pavements which was supported by both the Conservative and Labour parties in a Council Tax vote. Liberal Democrats have recently uncovered that Ealing Council's previous contractor Amey had sub-contracted out its weeding to a company that has not weeded the pavements for the past three months leaving many in a much worse state than usual. I believe that the Council needs to keep our streets clean and safe and reverse the decline we have seen in the last past few years."

A spokesperson for Ealing Council said that, as the specific issue we raised hadn’t been reported to them they were unwilling to comment.

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July 18, 2020

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