A COUNCILLOR has hit out at highways bosses for the number of out of control weeds springing up in roads and estates across Colchester.

Labour councillor Lee Scordis says he is regularly forced to take matters into his own hands and remove overgrown plants, despite Essex Highways regularly spraying weeds with pesticides.

He has also raised concerns about the product used to spray weeds, glyphosate, due to its effects on wildlife.

Mr Scordis said: “Just this month I found weeds taller than me in my division.

“Every year it is the same issue, where my ward colleagues and I end up removing many of the worst weeds by hand.

“Essex Highways is not managing this issue competently.”

Mr Scordis said Essex County Council was unwilling to listen to alternatives to glyphosates, which have courted controversy due to their potential effect on public health as well as wildlife and habitats.

He said: “Essex Highways employs Highway Rangers who are tasked with small odd jobs for Colchester.

“I have asked if they could spend a few days clearing weeds by hand and tool, especially in the worst affected areas. However, I am simply told that’s not their role.”

A spokesman for Essex Highways said it has sprayed weeds twice in 2019, in May and August.

He said: “If there is unusual combinations of warm weather and some rain then weed growth will increase.

Colchester Council has an important role to play in weed suppression as the better the street cleaning, the less material accumulates in gutters and kerb channels for weeds to take root in.”

Glyphosates are approved and licensed by the EU and meet UK regulations for use for weeding.

The county council spokesman said: “The EU has a standard process to test any new evidence regarding its safety, even before the projected licence renewal date of 2022.

“If the product should fail to achieve a licence at that date or before, from either the EU or the UK government, we will cease its use immediately.

“However, so long as the scientific advice, as reflected through the official licence approval process, is that it is safe for use in this way we may continue to use it.”