Green Party Councillors have welcomed the reduction in the use of glyphosate, a chemical used to kill vegetation, by Sheffield City Council.
Use of glyphosate by Streets Ahead (contracted to maintain Sheffield’s street scene) has been reduced from 140,000 litres of diluted product in 2019 to 50,000 so far in 2023.
There are concerns about the health impact of glyphosate use, with it being cited as a possible cause of cancer and organ damage.
The UK is also facing a nature emergency with a 60% decline of flying insects lost in the last 20 years¹, with glyphosate one of the reasons cited for a decline in bee populations².
Councillor Alexi Dimond Green Party Spokesperson on the Waste and Street Scene Committee said,
“With the spraying period almost over, this is a huge ⅔ reduction in use. While glyphosate will unfortunately still be sprayed on hard surfaces, it will not be used on verges or tree pits.”
Cllr Dimond also asked for indicative targets for further reductions and for a report to be brought to the committee on options – showing costs and impacts – of phasing out glyphosate use by StreetsAhead entirely by 2025. The Greens also asked for the council to spread awareness of the nature emergency to build tolerance of vegetation growth and supporting biodiversity.
The Waste and Street Scene Committee agreed to consider this proposal and added it to its work programme.
Cllr Dimond welcomed progress so far saying:
“These reductions are really substantial. We also called for more details of how further reductions can be achieved. We want to see options & cost implications for phasing out glyphosate entirely within the constraints of the StreetsAhead contract.
“It’s important that this information is in the public domain to help inform residents & ensure decision making is transparent”.
UK’s flying insects have declined by 60% in 20 Years – Natural History Museum
UK’s flying insects have declined by 60% in 20 years | Natural History Museum (nhm.ac.uk)
What’s the problem with Roundup – Ecology Center
²So What’s the Problem With Roundup? | Ecology Center