Locations in North Yorkshire are benefiting from a brand-new weeding machine which works without using herbicides.
The machine uses hot water insulated by a biodegradable foam, made from natural plant oils and sugars to keep the liquid hot, to kill weeds, moss and algae at their root without the use of chemicals.
North Yorkshire County Council is trialling Foamstream, developed by Weedingtech in 2011, as a new way of keeping some of the county's roads, streets and pavements tidy and weed-free.
The machine is expected to be used in Harrogate, Knaresborough and Ripon, cleaning up the town centres. If the technology is deemed successful after the pilot, it could be rolled out to more towns across North Yorkshire. It's the first time the technology has been used in the region.
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 are 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 and it can also be used to clean signs, street furniture and bollards, along with cleaning off chewing gum."
Foamstream works by super-heating vegetation to 95 degrees. The foam insulates the heat in the hot water, keeping the temperature in the kill zone (57°C+) 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.
"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."