Cambridge City Council is restricting the use of herbicides in its parks and open spaces as part of its ongoing ambition to achieve a measurable net gain in biodiversity for Cambridge.
This ambition was outlined in a Biodiversity Emergency motion adopted by the council earlier this year. The motion recognises the immediate global biodiversity emergency and the local impact this could have on communities and businesses.
It outlines a series of pledges for the next two years and beyond including:
Making the council estate, including its parks and opens spaces, more hospitable to a wide range of plants and animals
Reviewing the council’s Nature Conservation Strategy to include measurable biodiversity net gain
Working with institutions, schools, businesses and community groups to raise awareness and encourage wider biodiversity action across the city.
A significant first step has been to restrict the use of herbicides in all city-managed parks and open spaces from July 2019.
The council will now only consider the use of specific herbicides in ‘special circumstances’, when viable, non-chemical alternatives have been exhausted or are not available. For instance in control of the invasive plant Japanese Knotweed.
The council will continue to develop and monitor an integrated weed control strategy. This will include mechanical removal, using alternative non-chemical treatments and designing out problem weed areas, for example by rationalising some park infrastructure or by creating longer grass areas, particularly under trees. It will also raise awareness to ensure people understand the need for changes to past management practices.