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We want to reduce the use of glyphosate in the borough

12 July, 2019

Cartoon by John Sadler:

• ISLINGTON Council is committed to keeping the borough looking its best, which includes keeping on top of weeds in our streets, estates and parks.

We want to use as little herbicide as possible, (Islington Town Hall faces calls to ban ‘cancer link’ weedkiller, July 5). This includes reducing the use of glyphosate, and we are this year using new nozzle technology which should result in a 60 per cent reduction in the amount of glyphosate used on the public highways.

We are constantly looking for ways to reduce herbicide use further, but some use will always be required to tackle problems such as Japanese Knotweed, which can cause serious damage to people’s homes and buildings.

Glyphosate is currently approved for use by the EU, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and the Health and Safety Executive.

A 2017 study by the European Chemical Agency concluded that the available scientific evidence did not meet the criteria to classify glyphosate as a carcinogen.

We continue to closely monitor guidance around the use of glyphosate, and we will, in any case, continue to take action to reduce its use.

The council faces ongoing cuts to its core central government funding, on top of the 70 per cent cut in funding Islington has seen since 2010. Currently, alternatives to glyphosate are significantly more expensive.

It is estimated that using alternatives to glyphosate in our parks and on estates could cost an additional £100,000 to £130,000 per year, and would require an extra £325,000 to buy vehicles and equipment. There would also be an increased cost for weed management in our streets.

The impact of central government cuts means that if we stop using glyphosate altogether we would have to cut other services to pay for alternative weed management.

As the July 5 Tribune noted, we are extremely grateful for the help and support of residents who remove weeds from streets and tree pits themselves, so we can further cut glyphosate use.

We are very happy to talk about similar arrangements for other streets, if residents would like to get in touch. Our officers will also contact Dorothy Boswell to find out more details about the incident she mentioned.

Executive Member for Environment and Transport


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