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WILTSHIRE Council is discussing a ban on its use of controversial pesticides – a move that has been welcomed by local campaigners.
The council came under fire from local residents and the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust for its use of glyphosate to control weeds – a pesticide which has been banned in many countries over fears about its health risks and effects on the environment, an issue that was taken up by Melksham News.
The council currently sprays residential areas and roads with the pesticide twice yearly across large parts of the county, including Melksham, Bowerhill and the surrounding villages.
Wiltshire Liberal Democrats have put forward a motion at this week’s full council meeting, for the end of Wiltshire Council’s use of glyphosate to kill weeds on roads and pavements. The full council meeting was still in progress as Melksham News went to press.
Bowerhill resident Sue Tweedie, who has campaigned for the ban of glyphosate, has welcomed the news. “I think that this is a really strong move forward,” said Sue. “People might think that banning glyphosate is not connected to climate change, but when it comes to our natural world, everything is connected – it all has a knock-on effect.
“The production of glyphosate is harmful for a start, let alone the impact of its use. So I think its a really great step forward for the council and its declaration last year of a climate emergency, and I feel really positive about it – I can’t imagine anyone wanting to continue using it. With all the recent reports on the benefits of not using it, I think the decision is a no-brainer really!
“In addition, the new agriculture policy that is going through Parliament, is considering the use of glyphosate across farmlands and open spaces – and I know the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust is very keen for a ban across the board – so the council could be ahead of legislation!”
Wiltshire Lib Dem group leader, cllr Ian Thorn said, “Many councils across the country have or are beginning to phase out the use of glyphosate-based weed killers. Glyphosates’ continued use threatens the health of Wiltshire’s wildlife, residents and our pets.
“Continuing to use dangerous pesticides to manage our weeds is unnecessary, and research indicates, dangerous. In February last year, Wiltshire Lib Dems successfully pushed Tory-controlled Wiltshire Council to declare a climate emergency. Ending this use would be a small but important part of the process. We need to see action on this now.”