A CHILDREN’S playground in Shottery is the latest location to be hit by weed killer reducing much of the play area to patches of brown earth similar to that seen a drought.
The brown patches were spotted by Shottery resident Catharine Fleming who said: “Two hundred yards from one of the most visited and iconic properties in the world, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, we see this brutal and depressing scene. Weedkiller has been used instead of strimming along the fence lines of the children’s playground and football pitch, causing what can only be described as environmental vandalism, a ‘scorched earth’ policy that seems to have been adopted not only across Warwickshire but further afield in the UK.
This practice must be stopped as it totally obliterates small habitats for precious species that support our lives. Would Sir David Attenborough approve this insane use of toxins to keep verges tidy?”
In March, the Herald responded to calls from concerned members of the public who had suddenly spotted brown areas popping up on verges, roundabouts and village greens all over Stratford.
It later emerged that “an excessive use of herbicide application” by idverde – the grounds management contractor to Stratford District Council – was the cause of the brown earth patches around town.
Although the work was carried out in March the repercussions remain, only this time the spraying has affected an area frequently used by children and parents.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents says on its website: “Weed control is required to reduce trip hazards and certain types of long-term maintenance costs. However, there are concerns about the use of pesticides and herbicides in areas such as playgrounds due to possible exposure of users to potentially harmful chemicals. Therefore we recommend that non-chemical methods of weed control be used wherever possible in preference to chemical methods.”
Last month Stratford District Council issued a formal default notice to idverde. It said at the time it was, “extremely disappointed that there had been an excessive use of herbicide.”
A district council spokesperson added last week: “The areas are being monitored and at the end of the season (around late September) idverde will undertake any remedial works to rectify the areas that were affected. It’s all got to be given a chance to recover and this will take time.”
A spokesperson for idverde said the company did not have any further comment to give at this time. idverde did however comment on the Herald’s original article in March.