Council promises to be pesticide-free by 2022

The council has pledged to become a pesticide-free city within three years by halting its use of glyphosate.

A three year plan is being developed to end the use of the toxic weed killer in all the city’s parks, open spaces, pavements, verges and housing land.

Glyphosate, commonly known by its original trade name Roundup, is a toxic herbicide and the world's most widely sold weed killer.

The harmful effects of glyphosate 

But many experts, including Pesticide Action Network and the Soil Association, believe it causes cancer in humans while destroying the environment and wildlife.

Cllr Anne Pissaridou, the new chair of the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability (ETS) committee, said: “Following advice from the Pesticide Action Network, officers are developing a three year plan with a view to moving towards ending the use of pesticides. 

“We have already started to reduce the amounts of glyphosate used in city parks, housing land and public highways. However, we believe we can accelerate the reduction in use. 

“I’m aware of the cross-party support and growing strength of feeling that residents would like the city to be pesticide free.”

City parks will be pesticide-free 

A report will go to the next ETS committee in October, during which time no glyphosate will be used in the city’s parks while the impact is monitored and alternative solutions are trialled. 

On the public highway and housing land weed spraying will be reduced from 2 per year to one spray this year. 

Cllr Pissaridou, who has been the key driver in making a ban happen, added: “We will be limiting the use of glyphosate to lower footfall areas only and using other new technologies including hot foam, infra-red technology and other solutions to ensure only the minimum amount of pesticide required is used. 

“This new technology promises to achieve up to an 80 per cent reduction in the amount of glyphosate used. 

“Overall, we should achieve in excess of 95 per cent reduction in the use of glyphosate by the council this year as compared to last year.

“In future years we will be aiming to eliminate the use of glyphosate by the council and working with partners and residents to replicate this across the city.”