Changes to city centre planting, verge management and weed control will be considered by a city councillor at a public meeting next week (February 27).

Joint executive member for environment and climate emergency, Cllr Jenny Kent, is to decide on options that aim to support the council’s pollinator strategy adopted in 2021 and reduce use of the chemical glyphosate as a means of killing weeds.

The councillor said the ‘Get York Buzzing’ project will bring cheer to residents and visitors, and sustenance for the city’s pollinating insects.

Read next:

Pottery fair set up by York residents set to be a fixture in regional events

Motorhomes and caravans being stolen in York and North Yorkshire, say police

Homecoming gig for York band next month after two-year absence from the stage

Cllr Kent said: “We’re keen to ‘Get York Buzzing’ by switching from traditional bedding plants, which need watering and changing twice a year, to more sustainable, pollinator-friendly planting in several trial areas in the city.

“We also want to manage our verges and other public spaces better for wildlife.

“This will include a change to mowing schedules which will not only help increase biodiversity and cut vehicle use but also help us to meet some challenging budget reduction targets.

“It’s really important that we act on our Pollinator Strategy.

“We are excited to trial ‘relaxed mowing’ on some road verges here in York and are looking to increase the amount of grassland set aside for pollinators and wildlife in parks and green spaces, whilst ensuring there is sufficient room for games and sport.

"The impact on biodiversity will be assessed in order to inform future decisions”.

The report presents an option for reducing the use of glyphosate from three annual sprays to two, following trials in some wards and feedback from parts of North Yorkshire.

Cllr Kent said there is a difficult balance to be struck between minimising the use of herbicides and ensuring the city’s paths and roads are clear and accessible for everyone, and infrastructure is protected.

Cllr Kent said: “Our ambition to manage weeds without the use of glyphosate remains, but in the absence of significant extra resources, this is a step in the right direction.

“We have also switched to using much stiffer brushes on street sweeper vehicles to improve gully cleaning and reduce the risk of surface water flooding.

“This will help prevent weed growth in the first place and reduce river pollution”.