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Greens welcome news of pesticide u-turn in Brighton and Hove

Move to end use of hazardous chemical weed-killer comes almost three years after original Green campaign for change

Greens have welcomed news that chemical pesticide ‘glyphosate,’ will be phased out from council use, after years of campaigning for the council to switch to less harmful, non-chemical weed-killers.

Glyphosate, a chemical pesticide labelled by the World Health Organisation a ‘probable human carcinogen,’ has been linked to health conditions such as cancer. Commonly referred to as the brand ‘Roundup,’ glyphosate has been used by the council to control weeds in parks and open spaces across the city. [1]

A Green campaign to end the use of glyphosate received the backing of full council in March 2016. However, despite support for an end to pesticide use, both Greens and campaigners have criticised the Labour council for slow progress after it emerged the spray was still part of weed control measures. Campaign group the Pesticide Action Network (PAN) has repeatedly called for an immediate ban. [2][3][4]

Almost three years since the start of the campaign, Greens say news that the Labour Council will now explore alternatives to glyphosate marks an important victory for campaigners, the environment and local community. Pointing to environmentally friendly alternatives used in neighbouring councils such as Lewes, Greens say the council can learn from cities worldwide where glyphosate is no longer in use.  

Green Councillor Tom Druitt commented:

“This is a massive step towards a healthier city that Green councillors have been campaigning on for over three years in response to very legitimate concerns from residents about the safety of pesticide use in the city’s parks, on grass verges and pavements.  This issue is a particular concern to me as a parent of a young child – and I’ve been pushing the administration to honour the successful Green Party motion of March 2016 and take immediate steps to stop using poisonous chemicals in the treatment of weeds. There are safe and affordable alternatives and it’s high time we used them.”

Notes for Editors

[1] Glyphosate has been classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), an arm of the World Health Organisation (WHO), as “probably carcinogenic to humans” and that children are particularly vulnerable to its detrimental effects.

[2] Brighton and Hove City Council, Green Group Notice of Motion, ‘Use of Pesticides,’ 24th March, 2016: https://present.brighton-hove.gov.uk/Published/C00000117/M00005639/AI00050514/$Item107cGrnGrpPesticides.docxA.ps.pdf

[3] Lack of action on glyphosate – question raised by Cllr Tom Druitt, Full Council Dec 2018: http://present.brighton-hove.gov.uk/mgAi.aspx?ID=70368

[4] Brighton and Hove Pesticides Action Network, “It is time that Brighton & Hove Council finally fulfils the promises made in 2016.” http://www.pan-uk.org/brighton-and-hove/

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