COUNCILLORS have questioned whether the contractors paid to keep weeds on York’s pavements under control bothered to check the weather before carrying out their work.

Bad weather over the summer is one of the reasons that plants became so overgrown on footpaths, traffic islands and lanes - according to a City of York Council report.

A council meeting about tackling overgrown weeds in the city heard that a private company carries out the work - but that this year the “performance hasn’t been acceptable”.

Cllrs Mark Warters and Kallum Taylor suggested the work be carried out by a council team instead. Cllr Taylor said: “It’s easy to say external providers are cheaper if they are not doing the job properly.

“This year’s weed control project has been problematic due to the weather - although, and this sounds painfully obvious, it leads me to wonder if the contractors check the weather forecast.”

Cllr Warters said the overgrown plants show a “complete and utter breakdown of a very visible council service”.

He added: “I have been telling you since May the weed control in York is in meltdown and there has been no decisive move by the administration. Failure to act will undoubtedly bring us back to the very same point this time next year.”

The council’s executive member for the environment, Cllr Paula Widdowson, was asked to agree to a review of the service.

This could include changing the weedkiller used, the frequency of treatment, reviewing the areas the team focuses on and encouraging volunteers to remove weeds from some neighbourhoods.

The council has also launched a team to remove rubbish from traffic islands and an officer told the meeting they are already seeing good results.

Cllr Widdowson said: “We all recognise that it’s not where we want to be. It’s about building on it so that, as Cllr Warters said, this time next year we’re not in the same position. This is a result of a long term underinvestment. What we do need to do is put in place how we measure the effectiveness.”

Cllr Widdowson agreed that the weed removal programme should be reviewed. Any changes would then be considered as part of the budget process.