Caerphilly Council Will Review Use Of Controversial Chemical Over Safety Fears, Plaid Cymru Told

07/07/2020

Caerphilly Council has confirmed that it is looking at alternatives to a controversial herbicide used to rid the county’s roads and pavements of weeds.

Councillor Colin Mann, leader of the Plaid Cymru group, wrote to the authority in the wake of a BBC report that the chemical firm, Bayer had agreed to pay up to £8.8bn to settle cancer claims linked to its Roundup weed killer, which contains glyphosate. It has been blamed by some people for cases of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and other cancers.

Councillor Colin Mann said: “While Bayer denied any wrong-doing, the fact they agreed to pay out such a vast amount would strongly suggest there may be an issue with glyphosate. Some countries have already banned herbicides that contain glyphosate.

“In the view of concerns about its safety, I asked the council to take precautionary action and carry out an urgent review on the use of glyphosate in Caerphilly county by the council’s contractors. There may be a case for a ban on its use, particularly if there are effective alternatives for weed treatment without this chemical.

“I welcome the council’s move to look at a herbicide-free product for use on roads, pavements, back lanes and in car parks. Nine Welsh local authorities have already stopped using glyphosate.”

In a letter to Councillor Colin Mann, Caerphilly Council official Michael Headington wrote: “I am aware that the WLGA (Welsh Local Government Association) asked all Welsh local authorities about their use of glyphosate products, particularly if they are using it, whether concerns have been raised by the public and were they considering alternatives. 

“Thirteen out of the 22 local authorities responded confirming that they do use glyphosate but concerns have been raised prompting them to revise their approach to reduce the amount of chemical being used.  Most had looked at alternatives but were concerned about the effectiveness of them and additional cost implications.

“In conclusion, whilst glyphosate currently remains an approved pesticide, we have and will continue to investigate suitable alternatives for treating weeds and use of glyphosate across the county borough has reduced in recent years.  I represent the council at the Green Spaces Wales forum and I received information this week of a new herbicide free product called ‘Foamstream’. A demonstration is being arranged (by Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan) - date yet to be confirmed so relevant officers will have the opportunity to view and ask appropriate questions.”