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Calls to weed out chemical spray used in Islington

19 July, 2019

Glyphosate – which has been linked to cancer – is used to tackle weeds in the borough

RESIDENTS have launched a petition calling for the Town Hall to stop their workers spraying glyphosate weedkiller in the borough.

It follows the Tribune’s front-page story earlier this month when residents asked the council to stop using the chemical on their green spaces.

Glyphosate has been linked to cancer in a series of court trials in the US over the past few years.

Dorothy Boswell, from Archway, who launched the petition on the council’s website, said: “As Islington is going to have to address this issue sooner or later, why not lead the way in showing that a few wild plants are a sign of a borough that respects the health of its workers, residents, children, animals and wildlife, while actually reducing spending on harmful chemicals and the cost of training staff how to use them?

“Wouldn’t we all be prepared to accept a few more dandelions in our streets for that?”

Ms Boswell, who is a judge with the council’s annual gardening competition Islington in Bloom, was backed by Green Party councillor Caroline Russell, who represents Highbury East ward and is a Greater London Assembly Member. Her motion to stop the use of glyphosate in most instances, put forward to the London Assembly, was passed unanimously by members from all political parties earlier this month.

Cllr Russell said this week: “Surely Islington should be taking a precautionary approach and cease the spraying of glyphosate which exposes residents and workers to potential harm?

“For invasive species, like Japanese Knotweed, it is possible to use glyphosate by stem injection rather than spraying. This massively reduces the risk to workers and targets the weedkiller at the problem species.”

Cllr Claudia Webbe, Islington’s environment chief, said “we want to use as little herbicide as possible” and added that workers have been using “new nozzle technology which should result in a 60 per cent reduction in the amount of glyphosate used on the public highways”.

The petition could see the issue debated at full council if it is signed by more than 2,000 residents. The petition can be found at https://tinyurl.com/y4p7sytr

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