Glyphosate-free Streets

We are thrilled to be collaborating with Nick Sherriff at the District Council, the Network Management Team at Hertfordshire Highways and Heidi Carruthers at Wilder St Albans to trial this ground-breaking initiative. It will involve replacing glyphosate spraying with manual weeding carried out by residents on five of our Wilderhood Watch streets:

After quite long running sessions initially, we’re now finding that regularly weeding for shorter lengths of time is enough to keep our streets looking neat and tidy. Residents on our streets are happy to keep their front boundaries weeded themselves, so it really is a communal effort!

You may not have heard of this chemical, but glyphosate is regularly used by Herts County Council to keep our St Albans streets free of weeds. It’s also widely used in agriculture, so is ever present in the food we eat. In fact, research has shown that never in the history of the planet has a herbicide been used to such a great extent.

Because of its wide-spread use, more and more research is being done to study the effects of glyphosate on wildlife and humans. The results are extremely concerning. Evidence is mounting for example that it poses a particular threat to aquatic animals, impacting their metabolism, growth, behaviour and reproduction.

It’s also thought to be causing behavioural changes in bees. These have serious ramifications for their survival, for example by hampering the time it takes for honeybees to find their hives, and by reducing wild bumblebees’ ability to keep their colonies at the optimum temperature needed for successful reproduction.

Considering all of the other pressures on these animals such as climate change, habitat loss and the use of neonicotinoids, it isn’t surprising that bee and amphibian populations are plummeting in the U.K. If we could relieve at least one stress on our local wildlife by weeding our streets by hand, we’re very happy to do this.

We have some beautiful pollinator friendly pavement plants along Lancaster rd, including green alkanet, toadflax and a foxglove! Weeding by hand will allow us to spare some of the more attractive plants which don’t pose a trip hazard.

If you would like to be involved in one of our work parties, please contact We would love to hear from you! Please also support us by not using chemicals in your gardens, including slug pellets.