East Riding Liberal Democrat Councillors call to ban weed-killer linked to cancer on verges, schools and play areas

Adrian Koster and Cllr Linda Johnson examining the verges on Woodhall Way, Beverley. Image: East Riding Liberal Democrat Councillors
Adrian Koster and Cllr Linda Johnson examining the verges on Woodhall Way, Beverley. Image: East Riding Liberal Democrat Councillors

East Riding Council are being urged to phase out use of the weed-killer glyphosate, that has been linked to causing cancer, in favour of safer alternatives.

East Riding Liberal Democrat Councillors sat that the weed-killer has been increasingly linked to cancer in humans as well as pets and will be urging the council to make the change at Wednesday's full council meeting at County Hall Beverley.

Beverley Lib Dem Cllr Linda Johnson, will be urging the council to switch from glyphosate to safer alternatives, said: “Glyphosate is hazardous, not only to worms, insects and bees which we rely on to help us grow food crops, but to our children and pets.

"It’s frightening to think this weed killer is being sprayed with insufficient care and in adverse windy weather around parks and play areas, when even small amounts are now considered dangerous to children.

"It is also not safe for our ground staff employees who come into contact with it on a regular basis.”

Beverley resident Adrian Koster, who has professional understanding of herbicides, says: “There has been a big increase in the use of pesticides such as glyphosate in the UK since 1990. Meanwhile Italy and Portugal have all banned use of glyphosate and France is working towards this.

"Recent studies published in Science Direct show an increased risk of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma caused by exposure to pesticides.

"It is time for East Riding of Yorkshire Council to urgently introduce safer alternatives in its streets, urban areas, parklands and recreational areas.

Lib Dem Group Leader Councillor David Nolan said: “We have had confirmation from Paul Bellotti (Director of Communities and Environment East Riding Council) that the Council continues to use glyphosate to control weeds in areas where there are people.

"He assures us they will continue to review the situation and follow guidance. Given the emerging risk to human health, the Liberal Democrats want to avoid it being the Council’s weed-killer of “first choice” and seek safer and greener alternatives.”

Here's what East Riding Liberal Democrat Councillors want...

- Phase out the use of all pesticides and weed killers on council land.

- Cut out all use of glyphosate based treatments in all council operations in one-year.

- Trial pesticide-free alternatives during this period. Particularly those adopted by the likes of Hammersmith and Fulham and Lewes Councils who use biodegradable foam or hot steam treatments on weeds.

- Grant an exception to the above ban regarding the control of Japanese knotweed, or other invasive species, where there are currently no effective mechanical techniques available. However, in this case chemicals such as glyphosate will only be stem-injected, rather than sprayed, to reduce its spread in the environment.

- Grant an exception on sprays only in relation to Giant Hogweed where it’s not safe to be dug out or safely removed by other means.

- Write to the prime minister to inform the government of this Council’s opposition to glyphosate-based pesticides and to call for a UK-wide programme to phase out use.