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Labour reject call for pesticide ‘opt-out’ scheme that would give residents a say over street glyphosate sprays

Labour reject opt-out from glyphosate weedkiller spray

Labour must not impose glyphosate spraying on residents who do not want this chemical being used on the street where they live

Labour councillors on Brighton & Hove City Council’s Environment Committee have today voted to reintroduce glyphosate, a toxic weed killer, to the city’s streets.

Councillors were asked to consider a proposal from the Greens to introduce a glyphosate ‘opt-out’ scheme, which would give residents a direct say in whether pesticide sprays would happen on their street.

However the request for a formal opt-out scheme was rejected by Labour Councillors and the plans agreed to reintroduce glyphosate will involve spraying of the pesticide on roads and pavements across the city in a bid to remove weeds.

Councils such as Manchester and Lambeth in London use an ‘opt-out’ scheme, where residents can contact the council to request their immediate area or street is not sprayed with pesticides, and where residents can also offer to manage weeds nearby their home themselves.*

Greens say its vital residents have a greater say on what happens in their street, particularly given the links between glyphosate and poor health, and the disproportionate impact on children who often play on roads and pavements.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer found that glyphosate is ‘probably carcinogenic to humans,’ with children particularly vulnerable to the impact of toxins in the pesticide.

Protesters gathered outside of Hove Town Hall as Labour Councillors voted to reverse a ban they introduced in 2019, moving to bring back the use of pesticide glyphosate as a method for managing weeds in the city, with sprays of roads and pavements across the city planned.

Green Councillor Sue Shanks, commented: “First and foremost we want Labour to uphold the ban on the toxic weedkiller they themselves introduced in 2019.

“But as they’re unwilling to do this, the council could at least give residents a direct say on whether toxic chemicals can be sprayed outside their front door; where they walk their dogs, where children play, and where there are habitats for insects and birds.

“It’s a great shame Labour refused to back the suggestion they introduce a formal ‘opt-out’ scheme, allowing residents to have a say on whether glyphosate is used in their street – these schemes are the norm in councils like Manchester and Lambeth.

“Hundreds of people have already signed a petition objecting to Labour’s u-turn on glyphosate; and protesters gathered outside Hove Town Hall opposing the plan – so it’s clear that not everyone has a desire for all flowering plants to be removed.

“Labour should not be imposing a chemical they too admitted is ‘poisonous,’ on residents who don’t want it. Residents should have a say on whether chemicals with links to cancer are sprayed on their street. Labour said they were listening – all we’ve seen is u-turns, protests and a doubling down on this issue.”

Notes

* https://www.manchester.gov.uk/info/709/looking_after_parks_and_open_spaces/5753/weeds