I HAVE to take issue with the letter from Councillor Thorogood, published on May 30 ("Chemical attack").

Unlike his co-councillor in Kelvedon and Feering, Jenny Sandum, who has made efforts to ask for some facts first, comments like “it would seem” and “presumably” don’t indicate knowledge, but do “assume”.

I should also respond to Helen Bloxome regarding verge cutting (Letters, May 30, "Delay verge cuts").

To clarify, glyphosate (Roundup) is the only weed killer licensed by the EU for highway weed control, which the manufacturers recommend applying three times per year, to control different varieties of weed.

It does not prevent seed germination and is absorbed by leaf contact, transporting the chemical to the roots to kill the plant in 10 to 14 days.

Workers using it are licensed and follow strict, product-appropriate safety procedures during the two or, sometimes, three applications per year, but only in specific areas. The brown dead weeds are not collected.

When we leave the EU, which the Green Party doesn’t support, we will likely have a better idea of which alternative products we’re trialling in some highways areas and in our county parks work best, planning to further reduce chemical use.

Keeping sight lines and road edges visible is fulfilled by just cutting the first metre of verge, retaining the remainder for wildlife, as well as saving money.

Manually cutting around signs, would be costly in resource and time, so we balance between value, environmental benefit and available resource.

As Essex Highways maintains 5,000 miles of road, the cutting programme in Braintree is carried out by Braintree Council, carefully co-ordinated with litter-picking in advance.

Sadly, we still find tossers littering the countryside before the grass is cut.

I’ve often wondered what better good we could do with the £15 million spent by Essex districts on litter picking every year?

Robert Mitchell

Deputy cabinet member for highways and county councillor for Braintree Eastern Division