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Camden urged again to stop using glyphosate weedkiller

Toxic herbicide subject to legal claims

18 September, 2020 — By Richard Osley

Councillor Luisa Porritt has asked for a timeframe for phasing out use of toxic herbicide

THE Town Hall is facing new pressure to ditch use of a poisonous weedkiller linked to health risks.

Officials and councillors were asked this week to lay out a timetable for abandoning use of glyphosate, which has been the subject of resident petitions and campaigns by opposition councillors.

Some local authorities have already stopped using the herbicide after a court case in the United States which saw a weedkiller manufacturer pay £226 million to a school groundsman who developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Camden says its use of glyphosate is targeted and not used on flower beds, and say the substance is no more dangerous than some products available for general sale in garden centres.

But Liberal Democrat councillor Luisa Porritt brought the issue back up during an environment scrutiny committee on Monday. “Hammersmith and Fulham have managed to ban it,” she said. “There are other councils that have a set a time frame at least for when they’re going to phase it out by.”

In response, Oliver Jones, head of strategy at the council, confirmed “our ideal is to phase it out.” But he told the meeting: “People like Hammersmith and Fulham use what’s called ‘hot foam’, which uses very large lorries to deliver that hot foam. So you remove the chemical issue, but you deliver an air quality one.”

Camden has decided to keep on using glyphosate despite concerns being raised by the Lib Dems, Greens and Tories, and some members of the council’s own climate change ‘citizen’s assembly’.

Mr Jones, who is a council official not a politician, said: “Other boroughs use other herbicides that are as worse, if not worse, than glyphosate. Glyphosate has a name because of the court action in he United States, but it doesn’t mean it’s a worse chemical.

He added: “Herbicides we use as a council are actually a lower grade than the ones you can buy at the garden centre.”

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