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  • Pesticide-Free Cambridge

Pesticide-free adoption of 'The Snicket', Cambridge

Updated: Nov 2, 2022

Pesticide-Free Cambridge member & local resident has been involved with the community-adoption of this Cambridge alleyway to save it from council-herbicide spraying. Affectionately known as 'The Snicket', this cut-through from Harvey Goodwin Avenue to French's Road has quite a colourful history. It has periodically attracted anti-social behaviour to the extent that at one point it was suggested it be locked at night. In the 60's it was an unofficial path but more recently, having become a much-used route to St. Lukes Primary School, it was paved and being 'looked after' by the City Council which unfortunately meant spraying it twice-yearly with toxic, glyphosate-based herbicide. This, despite the alley being used daily by young children and adults going to and from school, and all the well-demonstrated risks posed by direct and indirect glyphosate exposure.

Two years ago local residents decided enough was enough. They asked the Council to stop spraying and offered to keep the vegetation in check themselves. Since then, there has been no herbicide spraying along the Snicket. The local residents not only keep the ivy and nettles under control and trim the overhanging holly branches, they also plant a few flowers here and there, put in spring bulbs and sweep up the autumn leaves. Wrens and blackbirds nest here in the spring and ladybirds cluster together in the ivy in winter. Meeting up, socially distanced, for some community gardening is also a great excuse for coffee and cake!

If there is a green space near you that you think should be taken out of the Council's herbicide rota then write to your local councillor and please also let us here at Pesticide-Free Cambridge know. You are allowed to adopt your local verge if you apply to the County Council (see link here:, or if, for instance, you'd like to plant flowers. Or you may just want your local area not to be sprayed with harmful chemicals.

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