Glyphosate – recognition for local authority action
Wild Justice has contacted a range of local authorities to quiz them about their use of, and policies on, the herbicide glyphosate (list updated on 27 September);
- Carmarthenshire CC
- Ceredigion CC
- City of London
- Conwy County Borough Council
- Cornwall CC
- Denbighshire CC
- Hammersmith & Fulham
- Hampshire CC
- Merthyr Tydfil
- Milton Keynes
- Monmouthshire CC
- New Forest
- Norfolk CC
- Northamptonshire CC
- Redcar & Cleveland
- Saffron Walden
- South Tyneside
- Surrey CC
- Telford & Wrekin
- Torfaen County Borough Council
- Vale of Glamorgan
- Mendip District Council
- Somerset CC
We are following up with several of these councils, particularly those whom we feel are failing in their duties to protect the public and the environment.
Here we will list local authorites who are doing well in our opinion, those who are undertaking substantial action to reform and those who aren’t doing nearly enough. This list will be updated as new information is collected.
The good local authorities: Frome, Glastonbury, Croydon, Lewes-Eastbourne, Brighton and Hove
Making some progress: Denbighshire, Milton Keynes, Norfolk, Redcar and Cleveland
Not doing nearly enough: to be updated
The good local authorities:
- Glastonbury – In Glastonbury a Motion was agreed in 2015 to cease the use of glyphosate as a means of treating any weeds. Glastonbury have been particularly progressive in their weed management approach by using alternatives such as Foamstream, power washers and hand-picking.
- Frome – In Frome, the town council passed a Motion to ban the use of glyphosate in 2016 and they are aiming to push this ban further by way of discussions with Mendip District Council and Somerset County Council.
- Croydon – Croydon don’t use glyphosate on any Council-owned or -managed land.
- Lewes-Eastbourne – Lewes-Eastbourne Council doesn’t use glyphosate on its own land, except on rare occasions for certain species such as Japanese Knotweed. Their policy on pesticides was impressive, with a whole section dedicated to the use of glyphosate and alternatives, and they plan to have all public parks largely or completely free of pesticides.
- Brighton-Hove – Brighton and Hove Council have implemented a Pesticide Reduction Plan and decided to phase out glyphosate back in November 2019
If you live in any of the five council areas above then why not contact your local council and say ‘Well done!’ – they won’t get many communications like that.
The reforming councils:
- Denbighshire – Denbighshire uses 3 products at what we consider moderately high volume, some 940 litres over 12 months. Like some other authorities, Denbighshire places significant emphasis on its compliance with certifications and health & safety standards (such as COSHH), and, like some others, notes that glyphosate-based herbicides are approved for use in UK, and that there is therefore nothing unlawful per se about using them in Wales. It is encouraging to learn that the use of pesticides, including the herbicide glyphosate, has been called-in annually over the previous two years by Denbighshire’s Partnerships Scrutiny Committee. But the absence of an overarching policy and an absence of effort to reduce use and consider alternatives is concerning. So it is heartening to be told that Denbighshire has introduced a new Weed Spraying Policy and a Corporate Health, Safety and Welfare policy, and “will imminently be seeking approval of an overarching policy which will seek to set out the information set out above on a corporate level for the whole of the council”. That’s good news and we’re looking forward to reviewing the policy when ready.
- Milton Keynes – From Milton Keynes response, it appears they have no real policy on the use of glyphosate. They instead rely significantly on their third party contractors doing the right thing. Their response revealed a lack of proper consideration of alternatives or reduction of use. We recognise that Milton Keynes has managed a significant reduction in glyphosate in the period 2015 to 2021 and that they have a pesticides position statement. But in practice, their use remains high. They have offered to meet with us to discuss how they can improve, and that is an offer we are keen to take up.
- Norfolk – At more than 5300 litres/12 months, Norfolk County Council’s use of glyphosate-based herbicide is among the highest of any local authority. Unfortunately, Norfolk also lacks adequate policies for use of the 3 products they have opted for – there is no consistent policy across 7 departments that use glyphosate, no specific consideration of vulnerable groups, and, it appears, no thought has been given to the use of alternatives. Despite all this, Norfolk has agreed to put in place an overarching policy which is being prepared and we have asked to be shared with us.
- Redcar and Cleveland – Another authority with a fairly high use of glyphosate, Redcar & Cleveland reported to us that they’ve used 2120 litres of glyphosate-based herbicide over a 12 month period. Redcar & Cleveland referred extensively to their reliance on certifications and licence compliance in their use of glyphosate, but that of course is to comply with the basic requires for the use of these dangerous products; it says nothing about what policy the local authority has adopted to work towards minimising use and exploring alternatives. Redcar & Cleveland has however pledged to factor Wild Justice’s concerns into a current review of its Biodiversity Strategy. We look forward to considering that in detail, and hope that Redcar & Cleveland will now take steps to develop a coherent policy to phase out its use of glyphosate.
If you live in any of the four council areas above then why not contact your local council and say ‘Please do more – I see you’re doing something’ – they won’t get many communications like that.