Worthing Borough Council to phase out harmful pesticides

Released: Thursday, 07 July 2022

Harmful weed killers are set to be scrapped in Worthing's green spaces in a bid to halt the declining numbers of species of pollinating insects and the destruction of their natural habitats.

Glyphosate-based pesticides and herbicides have been used around the world and currently help maintain the town's public realms, including parks, bowling greens and on hardstanding areas such as the promenade.

But they are known to have a devastating impact on both flora and fauna and are associated with several forms of cancer, having already been banned or restricted in many countries including France, Denmark and Holland, while more than 80 local authorities have discontinued its use in favour of non-chemical alternatives.

Worthing Borough Council will now develop plans to phase out the use of glyphosate-based pesticides in favour of environmentally-friendly alternatives.

Cllr Vicki Wells, Worthing's Cabinet Member for the Environment, said:

“I am thrilled that Members supported this motion, we can now explore ecologically sound alternatives and processes to replace the use of this substance over the next 18 months and bring an end to the use of Glyphosate in Worthing.

“We recognise the biodiversity decline in species of pollinating insects including bees, wasps, hover flies, moths, butterflies and beetles due to the destruction of natural habitats, so we are determined to phase out these harmful pesticides in favour of safer, non-chemical options to manage these spaces.

“The phasing out of Glyphosate is crucial not just for ecosystems in our built environment but also for our coastal environment. While we aspire to Blue Flag status, we must sustainably maintain our coastal areas. This means ending Glyphosate use along the promenade because it can enter our coastal waters via the surface drainage system.”

Emma Cameron, Chair of Worthing Climate Action Network (CAN), added:

“We're delighted that the Joint Strategic Sub Committee at Worthing Borough Council voted unanimously to begin phasing out the use of glyphosate in parks and hardstandings. Worthing CAN and others have been campaigning for this for a while.

“Studies have found that glyphosate-based herbicides can interfere with organs and biochemical pathways in mammals. At low concentrations it damages liver, kidney and skin cells and long-term effects include cancer, infertility, pregnancy problems, birth defects and respiratory diseases and glyphosate has effects on the environment, destroying habitats and food supplies.”

Harmful pesticides have been linked to a decline in the numbers of pollinating insects, while more than 40 vascular plant species including flowering plants that were formerly recorded in Sussex have become extinct in the last 60 years.

Photo: Cissbury Fields, Worthing

PR22-120 - Cissbury Fields, Worthing

Photo: Emma Cameron, Chair Worthing Climate Action Network, at a glyphosate protest in Worthing

PR22-120 - Emma Cameron, Chair Worthing Climate Action Network, at a glyphosate protest in Worthing

Photo: Cllr Vicki Wells, Worthing's Cabinet Member for the Environment, pictured in Steyne Gardens

Cllr Vicki Wells, in Steyne Gardens (PR22-120)


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