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Hoylake beach spray: Row over treating grass with chemicals

Beach covered in grass Image copyright LDRS
Image caption Wirral Council said it had an agreement with Natural England to "manage" spartina grass on Hoylake beach

A council has agreed to stop spraying a beach with chemicals after celebrities tweeted about the issue.

Political writer George Monbiot and Dragon's Den TV star Deborah Meaden criticised Wirral Council for spraying Hoylake beach.

The beach was treated with glyphosate over three days last week in order to control grass which was growing in the sand.

Wirral Council said it was already trialling alternatives to spraying.

'Sand accretion'

The local authority has an agreement with Natural England to "manage" spartina grass which allowed for spraying once during the summer months in a controlled manner, it said.

The beach was closed until the spray was dry and the council advised people not to pick vegetation there until the end of the month.

Image caption Political writer George Monbiot and Dragon's Den TV star Deborah Meaden criticised Wirral Council for spraying Hoylake beach
Image copyright LDRS

Mr Monbiot called the spraying "madness", with his tweet amassing more than 6000 likes.

But community group Friends of Hoylake and West Kirby Beaches told the Local Democracy Reporting Service it strongly supports the spraying, which it believes should be done earlier in the year.

Wendy Bennett from the group said if the beach was allowed to grass over nobody would walk on it at Parkgate, or north of West Kirby, and the grass would "severely restrict tidal flow and increase sand accretion, even further raising the sand level and ultimately threatening the promenade."

Wirral Council said there were "strong and compelling" views on both sides and it had recently voted to "phase out spraying of glyphosate" once a suitable alternative was identified.

Glyphosate is commonly used by farmers and gardeners.

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