Renewed calls for East Sussex County Council to ban controversial weedkiller

Petitioners have renewed calls for East Sussex County Council to ban the use of a controversial weedkiller. 

Friday, 20th August 2021, 3:47 pm
Roadside weeds

In a petition to the council, campaigners are calling on the authority to immediately ban the use of glyphosate-based weedkillers within the county and to begin using alternative treatments instead. 

Petitioners go on to argue that the council should at least commit to not using the substance near any water courses or in public parks, as well as to put in place a plan to phase out its use.

They go on to say the council should commit to making Newhaven its first glyphosate-free town.

However, the issue was last considered by the council in September last year, in light of two previous petitions from local residents, calling on the council to ban the use of the herbicide both in the Eastbourne, Jevington and Willingdon area and in Hastings.

The council declined to commit to ban its use of the substance until a suitable alternative could be found.

At the time the county council said it had already looked at a number of alternatives to using glyphosate, including: hand weeding, spraying of vinegar as well as a herbicide-free treatment known as FoamStream.

It said all these alternatives had “been found to be too costly, not suitable for need, less effective and/or inefficient for highways use at the present time.”

For example, using FoamStream – which involves the use of hot water and a biodegradable foam –  would cost approximately £90,340 per application if used in the Hastings area alone. This is five times the current cost for Hastings weed control of approximately £18,000, the council said. 

However, the council did commit to working with its partners, with a view to finding alternative methods as part of the next highways maintenance contract in 2023.

The petition is set to run until December this year. To see or to sign the petition go to: https://democracy.eastsussex.gov.uk/mgEPetitionDisplay.aspx?ID=500000053