By Richard Price

Unaware of the existence of the Green party petition, I saw in late May a weed-spraying vehicle being driven up Tackleway in Hastings Old Town. I was surprised when the driver asked: “Is there a problem?”, adding: “I saw you take a photograph; if you want, you can ask for me to take this road off of the job sheet.” 

I replied that such a decision would not be up to me. At that moment a couple (man and woman) approached, and the driver asked them whether or not they wanted him to take Tackleway off his job sheet.

Left to right: Wall at Tackleway prior to spraying, Section of wall cleared by local residents, Sprayed section of wall

“No, we don’t – we’ve just had to clear all that”. They pointed to a stretch of the road which had been cleared of weeds  and, as can be seen from the photograph, they had done it thoroughly.

But why would anyone during a pandemic lockdown take it upon themselves to clear plants from a roadside verge and stone wall? Particularly since the wall is arguably within the Hastings Country Park SSSI, in which case clearing of plants from between stones in the wall would be illegal.

The north end of Tackleway had not been cleared at that point. The species that remained were wild garlic, harebell, angelica, greater plantain, cow parsley, wild geranium and grasses. These weeds are attractive to insects and of benefit to biodiversity – known to some as wildflowers. 

The spraying proceeded. It seems to take up to two or three weeks for glyphosate to take full effect – but effective it is. Those flowers, and all other plant life on and around the wall, were dead by mid-June. 

Read Weeds, Wildflowers, Glyphosate – And A Petition here

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