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What weed control do we carry out?

We are responsible for the treatment of all weeds on the Highway including Japanese Knotweed, Giant Hogweed and Common Ragwort.  Weed growth detracts from the overall appearance of an area, trapping litter and debris.  Weed growth in road gullies and channels can slow down and prevent our drainage systems from working.   Weeds can damage paved surfaces, displace kerbstones and crack walls making maintenance difficult and costly.

We spray the weeds on the pavements and the edge of the road once a year.  We start our weed spraying in the summer.  Our weed spraying programme is weather dependent which means that our schedule can change at short notice.

My road has been sprayed but it has not killed the weeds

We are restricted by which herbicide sprays we are allowed to use.  The type of spray we use enters the plant through its leaves and breaks down the weeds cell structure rather than killing it on contact.  The spray makes sure that all parts of the plant are destroyed and slows down any regrowth. This means that once the weeds have been sprayed it can take between 10 and 14 days for the herbicide to take effect.

Why was the vehicle advising of weed control but nothing was coming out of the spray jet?

If the vehicle is travelling between sites of infestation it will not be spraying until it has reached the next infestation of weeds.  Spraying only takes place where there is a kerb and channel.  If the vehicle is between sites of kerb and channel there is no need to spray.  If there are no weeds present in the kerb and channel no spraying will take place.

Can you spray on windy days?

When spraying on windy days, special low drift spray jets are used and vegetable oil is added to the mix.  This increases the droplet size and reduces the spray drift.

Will the herbicides you use harm my baby, dog or cat etc?

We use an herbicide called Glyphosate which is approved for use in all amenity areas.  It is applied at a ratio of 5% herbicide to water.  At this approved rate of application it is harmless to all mammalian species and birds.  It is also approved for use near watercourses.

The vehicle spraying the weeds was travelling too fast

In rural areas the spraying system on board the vehicle is designed to spray at up to 30mph but the density and height of the weed growth may require a slower speed. 

In urban areas the mini tractors have a top speed of 8mph but the average speed is around 4mph.  It is impossible for the tractors to exceed 8mph.

Do you remove Ragwort from highway land?

We only remove a specific species of Ragwort known as the Senecio Jacobaea.  The plants are removed and transported in closed vehicles and taken to a licensed Green Waste Site.  Please contact us if you would like to report Ragwort.

Weed spraying in Hastings and Eastbourne

We do not carry out weed control in Hastings or Eastbourne.  Please see the following contacts for Hastings and Eastbourne Borough Councils.  Eastbourne: Hastings:

Weeds report »

What is Japanese Knotweed and how does it spread?

Japanese Knotweed is a perennial plant which is extremely invasive and thrives on disturbance.  The smallest piece can re-grow and cause threat to native plants and structural damage to buildings.  The plant is native to Asia and outside of its natural habitat the plant has no biological enemies.  In its natural habitat it causes nowhere near the problems in poses across Europe.
The smallest amounts of cut stem, crown or rhizome (underground root) are capable of producing a new plant.  This means that controlling the spread is dependent on preventing the spread of stem, crown or rhizome.    Digging or other disturbance is known to increase stem density and if the rhizome is cut it will produce a shoot.    If soil contaminated with rhizome is moved to another site it will regrow.  As little as 10mm or 0.7g of rhizome can regenerate into a new plant. 

Japanese Knotweed material is regarded as controlled waste, if you allow contaminated soil or plant material from any waste you transfer to spread into the wild you could be fined up to £5,000 or be sent to prison for up to 2 years.  For more information about Japanese knotweed please visit

How does East Sussex Highways deal with Japanese knotweed?

We have a list of highway land locations which have Japanese Knotweed.  Treatments takes place between May – June and again in October – November.  The growth is sprayed with an herbicide and left to die off in situ.  Each stem of Knotweed needs to be around 1m – 1.5m tall and bearing sufficient leaves for the herbicide to take effect.

If you would like to report Japanese Knotweed, please contact us so that we can add it to our list of locations if it is not already listed.

Japanese Knotweed in Eastbourne and Hastings?

Japanese Knotweed in Eastbourne or Hastings is the responsibility of the Borough Council.  To report Japanese Knotweed in one of these areas please contact the Borough Council.

Weeds report »