Whether it was reading about the banning of the herbicide glyphosphate in Paris in Alex Morss’ Guardian article or listening to Lambeth-based botanist Sophie Leguil enthuse about weeds in tree pits during the Urban Tree Festival, I’ve become hyper-aware of the beauty of pavement flora over the last month.

Perhaps because of the challenges London councils are having during lockdown, it seems like pavement weeds in south London have been left to grow longer than they might otherwise have been. And I think it’s great, but I appreciate that this is a matter of aesthetics. For everyone like me who is enjoying the flowers and insects visiting them, there are people who’ll think it’s a weedy mess.

Will it be possible to widen the weed love? If we are serious about increasing biodiversity then I really believe we’ll need to green every space and crack in our cities which can be done safely as well as looking after the designated green spaces.

So I’m going to start by finding out what the current weed management policies are of every London council. Over the next week (once I’m no longer employed by a London council) I’ll be sending out Freedom of Information requests asking about the following things and will share my findings…

  • policies relating to green spaces, biodiversity, mowing and herbicides
  • green space and weed management contractors and contract expiry dates
  • public engagement and complaints relating to weed management

I’ll be sounding out others and organisations who will be up for collaborating…