Green Councillors are calling for an end to the use of a potentially toxic weed-killer in Brighton and Hove. Roundup – the most commonly used commercial herbicide in the world – is used by the council to control weeds in streets and parks, and contains a controversial chemical called ‘glyphosate’ whose safety is being increasingly called into question by public health organisations and local and national authorities around the world.
In 2015, the World Health Organisation announced that the herbicide was ‘a probable human carcinogen’ and warned against over-use. Since then many authorities in Canada and the USA have banned the substance, and several European countries have done the same. So far, only a handful of UK authorities have taken any action, but there are bans or trials in place in Bristol, Glastonbury, Erewash, Aberdeen and Edinburgh.
At the Full Council meeting of Brighton & Hove City Council on Thursday 24 March, Green Councillor Louisa Greenbaum will be putting forward a motion requesting that the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee ask officers to explore less harmful non-chemical alternatives.
Councillor Greenbaum said:
“I have received significant correspondence from residents with real concerns about the use of pesticides in our public spaces, and local campaigning group, Pesticides Action Network, have to-date gathered over a hundred signatures to a petition calling for the council to end the use of pesticides in the streets, parks and other public areas of our City.
“Given the potential risks identified with a number of common chemical pesticides by the World Health Organisation, we cannot afford not to act. Unless these products can be guaranteed to be safe, we should not risk the health of our residents. That’s why on Thursday, as part of Pesticides Action Week, I’m asking for the Council to respond to these residents by committing to move to safer alternatives in the city.
“The fact that so many other areas of the world have ceased to use glyphosate with no negative effects means that it can be done. There are many safer alternatives and I think we owe it to everyone who uses our parks, streets and school playgrounds to eliminate use of this chemical in our city.”