Local Councillor, Gus Hoyt, is calling on the Mayor to use Ashley ward to trial alternative methods to weedkillers which contain the potentially harmful chemical, glyphosate.
Councillor Gus Hoyt from Ashley ward, which includes St Pauls, Montpelier, St Werburghs and parts of St Andrews and Stokes Croft has been contacted by many local residents who are concerned about the use of glyphosate in their neighbourhood.
‘An increasing number of people with concerns about the use weedkillers which contain glyphosate have contacted me over the past few months. The majority have been parents who are worried about their children playing on or near areas which have recently been sprayed. But lots of other residents, from community food champions to foragers and gardeners, have also expressed their concerns.’ said Councillor Hoyt.
Earlier this year an agency of the World Health Organisation found that Glyphosate, which is found in most herbicides including the weedkiller RoundUp, is ‘probably carcinogenic to humans’. Green Councillors have already raised concerns with the Mayor, asking for more detailed information on how and where glyphosate is used across the city.
‘I’m sure Monsanto – with their vast economic interest in products like RoundUp - will fight claims that their product could cause cancer. Paris and the State of California have already decided to use the precautionary principle and ban the chemical after its safety was called into question. There are many safe alternatives to glyphosate-based weedkillers - many used here in the UK. I’m simply asking the Mayor to start with a trial of these more acceptable methods and compounds on the geographical area of Ashley ward. I’m a councillor for this small but important area of the city and would like the Council and its contractors to do best for the people I represent.’
When asked if all glyphosate use should be banned Cllr Hoyt replied that in some instances the experts agree on its effectiveness. ‘There are highly invasive weeds, such as Japanese knotweed, where it may be possible to argue that the use of glyphosate is necessary, but these are exceptional cases. I hope that a glyphosate free trial in Ashley would demonstrate that the alternatives to glyphosate which are used in other places could be applied to Bristol.’
Image © Flickr/Michelle Tribe