Counting on … day 196 

28th May 2022

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
  • their weedkiller contractors and contracts. 

The results show that whilst some councils do not use glyphosate at all, others allow its application up to three times a year.

Where less herbicides are used, you may well notice a growing number of small plants along the edges of the pavements – a greening of the environment that pollinators may well appreciate!

You might like to ask your local  council about their policy.

  Counting on …day 195

27th May 2022

“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

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.

safe to use?

For gardeners who wish to avoid using pesticides, PAN UK provides guidance on combating pests without the use of pesticides  –

Counting on …day 194 

26th May 2022

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.

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. 

 Counting on …day 193

25th May 2022

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.

“‘This is due to the intensive agriculture that supplies cheap food, Lees said, adding: “If we want farmers to farm wildlife, we have to pay for that as a society.”’

There are two things we can do: first opt where possible for organic produce, and second, avoid using pesticides and herbicides in our own gardens.