North Yorkshire Council has invested in a new weeding machine for its works beside highways and in town centres, which works without using herbicides.
The machine uses hot water insulated by biodegradable foam – made from plant oils and sugars – to keep the liquid hot to kill weeds and moss right at their root without the use of harsh chemicals.
North Yorkshire County Council is trialling Foamstream technology and is expected to use it in Harrogate, Knaresborough and Ripon, clearing town centre streets and pavements of weeds.
If the technology is deemed successful after the pilot, it could be rolled out to more towns across North Yorkshire. It is the first time the technology has been used in the region.
Foamstream, developed by company Weedingtech, works by super-heating vegetation to 95 degrees. The foam insulates the heat in the hot water, keeping the water temperature in the kill zone (57oC+) for long enough to kill or sufficiently damage the weed. Foamstream sterilises surrounding seeds and spores to stop weeds spreading and then kills or damages the plant to prevent regrowth.
As well as killing weeds, which, for the County Council, will be the main function, the Foamstream has attachments for cleaning chewing gum off roads, too.
John Putsey, Maintenance Manager for Highways, Area 6, said: “It’s a really exciting device and one we’ve never seen in the North East before. It’s very safe to use, there’s no pesticides and it’s very effective at killing weeds.
“It’s very good for pedestrian areas, for roads in areas where weeds gather. It’s very quick, you can do up to 200 square metres an hour. It can also be used to clean signs, street furniture and bollards, along with cleaning off chewing gum.”
“We’re very pleased North Yorkshire County Council is trialling Foamstream.” Says Weedingtech UK Sales Manager Aaron Matthews.
“It’s a first time for us in the region and we’re confident the system will prove wholly effective for them. Foamstream is already used by many councils around the UK including Hammersmith and Fulham, Southwark and Manchester City Council as well as by some of the nation’s biggest contracting companies such as idverde and Urbaser.”
Cllr Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Highways, said: “I welcome the use of this new, environment-friendly technological way to get rid of weeds from our roads and footpaths. This is particularly suited to our town centres, where a clean, weed-free streetscene is good for businesses, shoppers and visitors.”