Contractor sprays organic St Albans garden with chemicals

Claire's garden has had difficulty growing due to herbicides used by the council

Claire's garden has had difficulty growing due to herbicides used by the council - Credit: Archant

A keen home gardener has been left frustrated because she believes council herbicides have damaged her home-grown crops.

Claire Walsh, 39, who lives on the Verulam estate in St Albans, grows organic vegetables and herbs in her front flower bed.

This week she spotted a council contractor hand-spraying unidentified chemicals onto the borders of neighbours’ lawns and the pavement.

Claire said: “He was driving along on his tractor mower whilst using a spray so inevitably it wasn’t all that accurate.”

She is now questioning whether the chemicals are responsible for hindering her plants’ growth.

She explained: “Interestingly, I’ve never managed to succeed in growing anything along the front of my lawn in a zone about 20cm going back from the pavement.

“I suspect this is why.

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“I use organic compost and seeds and I’m a bit cross as I’ve got no idea what has been sprayed onto my stuff,” she added.

The district council told the Herts Advertiser that they employed an external company to cut council grass and the herbicide Glyphosate was used to contain weed growth on pavements.

Richard Shwe, head of community services at the council, said: “This is the only chemical they allow as it is not residual and becomes inactive quickly after hitting the ground.

“We understand that Glyphosate is approved for use by Natural England on its nature reserves due to its low toxicity and non residual nature.

“We would not expect the contractor to over-spray from the path edges but we are aware of, and sympathetic to, residents’ concerns and we will monitor the situation over the next few weeks.”

Claire added: “I’m not best pleased this weed killer is not organic and can equally kill plants as well as weeds.

“I’m trying to garden in an organic manner and also put my beds and borders to good use for growing vegetables.

“I’m really unhappy about having weed killer anywhere near us.”