£18,000 spent by York Council on ineffective weed control contract

It emerged today that the York Council has already handed over £18,498.70 this year to the contractor charged with controlling weed growth in the City.

The figure conflicts with assurances given at a public review meeting held earlier in the week when the impression was given that payments were being withheld because of poor performance.

The contract states that treated areas must be “98%” free of weed growth. Clearly this isn’t the case in most of the City. In additional several major roads and areas were omitted by the Council – in error – from the contract. These areas, including parts of the A59 and A1237, are still not showing any “die back” as a result of the promised “third treatment”

The meeting on Monday was largely indecisive. A further review is promised but it appears that the existing contract isn’t being terminated.

There are no plans to undertake weed control activities in at least a “trial” sector of the City using the Councils own workforce. This would have allowed work quality claims to be tested.

The latest revelations are likely to lead to renewed calls for greater transparency on the activities of the Councils’ partners. One Councillor (Mark Warters) has already asked for copies of weed control activity worksheets for his ward to be published. In addition, many residents believe that the results of contract supervisory checks should be made public. These issues may be subject to a Freedom of Information request.

A list of suggested initiatives was presented by residents to the meeting (above right).  A response is awaited.

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