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Updates from the Environment Committee

Wildflower Planting:

You may have seen our technicians Colin & Andy out and about planting wildflower seeds during September. The yellow rattle planted in 2019 has now taken effect in the majority of areas it has been planted and we are ready to move on to the next stage. We are planting more yellow rattle at Torridge View as it hasn’t been as effective on this verge.

With guidance from RHS Rosemoor, and Dave Squire we have chosen a perennial mix that should be well suited to the soil conditions. Establishing wildflowers is a long process, so there may not be masses of visible wildflowers in the first year; we are hoping that by 2025 we will all be able to fully appreciate the wildflower areas at Linden Close and Greenbank.

Management of Weeds:

In the early summer Great Torrington Town Council members, officers and technicians met with representatives of Devon Wildlife Trust to discuss plans and issues associated with reducing the use of harmful chemicals in the management of weeds.

Several factors were highlighted during this meeting, which contribute to the growth of weeds. The very wet and warm weather we had for many weeks this year definitely encouraged the rapid growth of weeds, and it was quite noticeable. These additional contributory factors were also noted:

· Cracks in the surface of roads and pavements.

· Debris on pavements and roads provides ideal substrate in the spaces provided by the cracks and at the edges of roads and pavements.

· The prevalence of on-street parking in some areas throughout the day reduces the effectiveness of the road sweeper lorry (scarab) – as there is no access to the edge of the road.

· The loss of the traditional habit of clearing and sweeping your own doorstep.

· Reduction of the use of harmful chemicals for weed management.

The issue of weed management can be a divisive one, so we are trying to work in a way that supports the environment and is considerate of the various opinions within the community. We have been contacted by many residents with differing viewpoints about issues with weeds and weed management in the past few months.

At our last Environment Committee meeting in early August, we discussed ways of addressing the issues raised during the meeting with Devon Wildlife Trust, and the practicalities of implementing the ideas suggested. For full minutes of this meeting

visit our website:

For now, we will continue to minimise our use of harmful chemicals, and trial other methods such as white vinegar. Our technicians will also continue to hand weed and hoe in some areas. We are going to consult with other local councils to see if we can learn from each other, during this time of changing ideas and approaches. We would also like to engage with local businesses to discuss a shared approach in reducing the use of harmful chemicals for managing weeds in our community.