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Weedspraying tractors

Hastings Green Party demands end to local pesticide spraying

Petition launched against ‘probably carcinogenic’ pesticide being used in the town. Hastings Green Party has launched a petition – which affects both people and planet, going beyond political parties – calling on East Sussex County Council (ESCC) to stop spraying verges, pavements and other areas in Hastings with glyphosate weedkiller. (See bottom of article for link to petition.)

In recent days, mini tractors have been seen spraying glyphosate in various areas of the town. In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (part of the WHO) concluded that glyphosate is ‘probably carcinogenic to humans’ [1]. In addition, by killing weeds and flowers which are an important source of food for insects, it indirectly affects biodiversity through changes to ecosystems and food sources [2].

Forty councils in the UK, including Lewes District Council, have banned the use of glyphosate [3]. Hastings Green Party’s petition also calls on Hastings Borough Council to demand that ESCC stop spraying the pesticide in this town.

In addition, the petition asks both councils to make a commitment to the ‘No Mow May’ [4] campaign run by conservation charity, Plantlife, whereby some stretches of grass are left un-mown in order to allow a wider range of plants to flower, providing food for a larger variety of insects. If roadside verges were left unmown until late July this would greatly increase biodiversity along the road network.

Julia Hilton, spokesperson for Hastings Green Party, said, “The use of glyphosate in Hastings simply cannot be justified. It is a potential danger to humans and animals, as well as having a major impact on insects. At a time when we are facing massive loss of biodiversity, councils should be doing everything they can to encourage insects on the land they care for. Many Hastings residents have been in touch about this and want to see an immediate ban on the use of this dangerous pesticide.”

An East Sussex County Council’s spokeswoman said: “We currently carry out one weed spray a year on channels and footpaths in Hastings using Glyphosate, a European licenced and registered product. The spraying is carefully controlled and limited in use to only where weeds are present.

“We continue to look for alternative methods of controlling weeds, but these are currently limited.”

Hastings residents can sign the petition here.

[1] https://www.iarc.fr/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/MonographVolume112-1.pdf

[2] https://www.pan-uk.org/glyphosate/

[3] https://www.localgov.co.uk/A-war-on-pesticides/47776

[4] https://www.plantlife.org.uk/uk/about-us/news/no-mow-may-how-to-get-ten-times-more-bees-on-your-lockdown-lawn

Posted 16:47 Thursday, May 28, 2020 In: Nature

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