I was horrified at the last Rochdale Township Committee meeting to learn that council officers were suggesting the use of chemicals sprays to slow the growth rate of grass in the borough.
The proposal involved spraying the chemical onto grass verges to slow the rate at which the grass grows, therefore reducing the number of times that it had to be cut throughout the year.
The report read: Environmental Management Service has been tasked with delivering new methods of grass verge maintenance to deliver improved appearance, improved wildlife value and reduced pollution from fuel use by strimmers and mowers whilst also reducing maintenance costs. This is to be
achieved with a roll out programme to the majority of sites over a number of years. The methods to be implemented are: Use of a growth retardant chemical to slow the rate of grass growth and therefore reduce the frequency of mowing.
As Shadow Portfolio Holder for Environment and a founder member of the successful Rochdale in Bloom movement, I could not believe what I was hearing.
Mine was the first voice of many to question the proposal and try to find out what the chemical was and why we would ever consider embarking on a plan to spread unnecessary chemicals over public spaces. After questions over the nature of the product, the impact on public health, animal welfare and the ecological impact it was clear to everyone that this must not be allowed to happen in Rochdale.
I am pleased to report that this proposal has been given a clear ‘No’ from the committee with the recommendation that this should not be progressed or implemented in our borough.