Budget-hit councils are skimping on weed clearance, new figures set to reveal

New figures to be revealed later this month will show budget cuts have had a massive hit on weed clearing, with skimping on spraying regimes damaging nearly a quarter of sites.

Keep Britain Tidy network development manager Liz Moss said the latest Local Environmental Quality Service in England (LEQSE) report due at the end of this month would reveal a worrying picture of the extent of budget cuts.

"We have found the necessity of local authorities to reduce costs is having a big impact," she told an Association for Public Service Excellence conference near Leicester last week. Survey teams, on behalf of Defra, visited 11 sites across 54 local authority areas.

"A large percentage of our streets are falling below what’s deemed by people as acceptable levels and our greatest area of concern is weed growth," she said. "Around 22 per cent of the sites are not making the standards, 6 per cent more than last year."

Other findings revealed almost two-fifth of sites falling on litter and a 294 per cent increase in blocked drains on streets leading to flooding.

Three-quarters of people felt it was the job of local authorities to persuade locals to change their behaviour on litter in the public realm. Moss said they would use the findings to lobby Government to increase spending to help spread a unified message.

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