Glyphosate and other herbicides are variously used – or not – by local councils to manage weeds in public spaces such as streets, parks, play grounds and pavements. In June 2020 Amanda Tuke asked thirty two London Boroughs (not including City of London) for information about:
their Councillors responsible for weed management
their weedkiller policies in particular relating to glyphosate
“Pesticides are poisons and there should be no place for them on supermarkets shelves. We should not be using these chemicals in our gardens and allotments, where our children and pets play, and where our wildlife should be thriving. In any case there is no need for them – it is easy to garden without pesticides.” Professor Dave Goulson, University of Sussex https://www.pan-uk.org/take-pesticide-products-off-supermarket-shelves/
PAN UK believes that there should be a ban on selling glyphosate to the public and is leading a campaign to press supermarkets to stop selling pesticides in their stores. Both the Co-op and Waitrose no longer stock high risk synthetic pesticides.
Chemical residues from pesticides and herbicides can affect human health. When applying these chemicals it important to follow the appropriate protective protocols. Residues can contaminate fruit and vegetables and thus put those who handle and eat the food at risk. Glyphosate for example is now considered as carcinogenic and its use is currently being phased out in Luxemborg, Italy, Austria, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, France and Germany. The EU (as opposed to individual countries) has, disappointingly, postponed its decision over whether to renew the licence for glyphosate from this December to 2023. Under post-Brexit government policy this could see the weedkiller approved for use in Britain until at least July 2026. https://www.fwi.co.uk/news/farm-policy/eu-delays-glyphosate-renewal-decision-until-2023
PAN (Pesticide Action Network) UK is calling for a rapid phase-out of glyphosate in agriculture and support to help farmers adopt safer approaches to managing weeds. We can add consumer-based weight by asking UK producers – eg producers of oil seed rape who routinely use glyphosate to kill the ripe plants as this makes harvesting easier – why they still use glyphosate.
Pesticides and herbicides not only kill pests and weeds, they are also kill others higher up the food chain such as ladybirds, frogs, and birds. In the recent review, the State of the World’s Birds it has been noted that across the globe more than half of bird species are in decline with farmland birds in Europe declining by 57% since 1980.