Roadside Weed Spraying Policy

Roadside vegetation is a corridor for flora and fauna, both indigenous and invasive. Controlling and maintaining roadside vegetation reduces road maintenance, and significantly improve driver safety. It improves sight distances around corners, and approaching bridges and intersections, and creates a wider road for passing traffic. Overgrown vegetation tends to shade the road, especially during winter. This increases the risk of pavement damage and accidents, preventing the road surface from drying, and allowing fallen vegetation to form coating that increases the risk of skidding.

Too much growth can create areas for animals to hide, while too much cutting can create areas that dry too quickly in summer and promote fire risks.

Verges can be mowed or sprayed. Most roadside cutting of vegetation needs to be completed during spring and summer, because this is when vegetation grows fastest. However, care should be taken not to eliminate all vegetation or soil scouring could result. We need to be careful of fire risk, as in summer peaks mowing can create fires due to sparks from stones and mower blades, and dried vegetation can increase the roadside fire risk.

Thames-Coromandel District Council has a policy of undertaking roadside weed spraying using glyphosate as part of its verge management policy. Weed spraying is not carried out solely to remove weeds. The mix used is both a weed spray and growth retardant, and is intended to reduce the need for other operations. It is applied to road edges to:

  • Remove roadside weeds and other noxious plants as required by law.
  • Improve visibility of road edges for road safety
  • Remove ground cover that can hide obstructions in the roadside verge
  • Reduce the effects of the roots of roadside plants on the pavement edge
  • Allow surface water to flow from the road edge without obstruction

In the past Waka Kotahi (the New Zealand Transport Agency) has examined alternatives to spraying but have found that the continued use of chemicals is more effective and cheaper than other measures. Increased frequency of mowing will not do this. Apart from the additional costs, increased mowing requires the use of more equipment and staff increasing the risks of injury to both contractors and public and also the carbon footprint of the operation.

If adjacent land owners do not want roadside verge to be sprayed they may ask to be added to the councils no-spray register.

If you wish for other properties to be added to the register (adjacent properties or river banks for example) Council cannot accept the inclusion of adjacent properties onto the register without a formal request from that property owner or proof that you act on their behalf or with their agreement.