Calderdale Liberal Democrats have questioned the Council over whether it plans to stop using the weedkiller that the World Health Organisation has declared is ‘probably carcinogenic’ . You can read the question asked by Liberal Democrat Councillor Marilyn Greenwood and the reply she received at the last Council meeting below.
QUESTION FROM COUNCILLOR Mrs Greenwood
TO: COUNCILLOR Press
As a number of British local authorities and, indeed, whole countries have banned the use of glyphosate as a weed killer because of concerns about its detrimental effects on health of those who use it and on others, would the portfolio-holder give details of any plans this Council has to stop using glyphosates and switch to safer alternatives?
- Glyphosate is licensed for use in the UK and so the real issue is with the licensing system/national government, rather than users at a local level.
- We use it in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions/industry guidelines, our operatives are fully trained and the Council’s Health and Safety Manager is content with the arrangements in place.
- In spring 2016, Council spraying operatives completed an extensive training review, covering the use of all pesticides and focussing specifically on glyphosate.
- We have listened to concerns and our aim is to reduce the amount used by 10% year on year, until 2021. We have already achieved a 10% reduction this year which was made possible by spot spraying as opposed to blanket spraying, using low volume nozzles and reducing spray bands.
- We are also actively researching alternative products but we have not yet found anything which is as cost-effective (this is not just about price – we would never put cost above the health of our communities, and particularly children – but is about whether it does what it’s meant to do, i.e. kills weeds effectively).
- We are in regular contact with other Councils, contractors who use alternative treatments, the Health & Safety Executive and the Chemicals Regulations Directorate (who confirmed on 29 June 2016 that the use of glyphosate within the EU has been extended for a further 18 months, until 31 December 2017).
- Of course we understand why people are concerned and we welcome dialogue about how we can continue to manage Calderdale’s public realm and green spaces in a safe and effective manner.
- This is one of the reasons why the Communities Scrutiny Panel has undertaken a detailed review of the use of pesticides and has already reported their findings to Cabinet. The issue will be further considered by Scrutiny as part of a review of Safer, Cleaner, Greener in November.