Glyphosate was originally patented as a chemical pipe cleaner in 1964. In 1969 it was patented as a herbicide.
Glyphosate is poison. That’s the first thing to understand about it. It is toxic. It kills.
As more and more scientific evidence emerges about the danger of glyphosate based weed killers to human and animal health, and its serious impact upon biodiversity, we ask why Folkestone & Hythe District Council, who have estimated they’ll use 60 litres (6,000 litres when diluted) in 2020/21, continue to spray this toxic chemical on play areas?
Other councils elsewhere have taken the measure to stop using this toxic chemical on play areas such as Dartford, Frome, Bury, Rossendale and Hammersmith & Fulham councils among others. So why won’t ours ban it with immediate affect in all play areas.
There are 85 play areas across the district, 48 of these are owned by Folkestone & Hythe District Council. All remain closed due to the covid-19 outbreak.
Play is both educational and healthy for children. The play areas across the district provide an opportunity for many children to learn, exercise and remain in good health.
On Tuesday – the 19th May, the Overview & Scrutiny committee (O&S) chaired by Cllr Rebecca Shoob (Green Party), discussed by video conference the Cabinet Report Play Area Strategy report Consultation Outcome C/20/04 along with Appendix 1 and Appendix 2
Under Folkestone & Hythe District Council constitution O&S has the power to
To prepare responses to consultation, for consideration by the executive, on any matter that affects community services in the District, including education and health.
Yet OSC has chosen not to prepare a response to the play strategy for Cllr Monk’s Lead Cabinet to consider.
The fact that glyphosate is sprayed in children play areas in the district, not forgetting it has been declared probably-carcinogenic-to-humans; and evidence shows it strongly connected to non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Liver Disease, among other illnesses, and Autism spectrum disorder. We do we wonder why the council still continues to use it in play areas. Let’s not forget the other research about glyphosate affecting the navigation of honey bees; and the US legal case which awarded a terminally ill man $289 million. Nor should we forget the fact that in 2016 Green MEP’s found concentrations as high as 17 times the safe limit in their urine.
Concerns about the effect of glyphosate use on public health, and on our environment, should not be simply dismissed by our communities, our council, Cllrs, or O&S, not when there are other non-chemical alternatives which would negate the significant risk posed to the district’s children, who use the 48 play areas owned by the council.
We are truly startled by the O&S stance, especially as on Nov 20th 2019, Cllr Connor McConville (Lab) introduced a motion to:
Move towards phasing out the use of all pesticides and weed killers in council owned parks, gardens and play areas.
The motion was passed unanimously. During its passage it received very vocal support from Cllr Treloar (Green) and Cllr Wade (Green) support from the Green Party, whose leader, Cllr Lesley Whybrow, is the Cabinet Member for the Environment.
This year 2020/21 Folkestone & Hythe District Council have estimated they’ll use 60 litres of Glyphosate across the district. When diluted that is 6,000 litres which would cover an area of 40 acres of land which is equivalent to 35 football pitches.
In total all councils across Kent (except Dartford who do not use glyphosate) estimate they’ll use 411,000 litres of glyphosate enough to cover approx 2,762 acres or an area one and half times larger than the Otterpool Park Development.
Our Council and O&S had an opportunity to draw up a health risk report to present to Cabinet about glyphosate use in play areas. By electing not to do so demonstrates a lost opportunity to recommend to the Cabinet the banning of glyphosate in all 48 council owned children play areas.
It is know that some of the play areas will be transferred to both Town & Parish Councils in the district. Will they assure residents of the district, they’ll not use the toxic chemical – glyphosate on play areas they may come to manage?
We believe other alternatives such as the ones suggested by the Pesticide Action Network, who received financial support of The Greens would prove successful. Or following the Best Practice Guidance Notes for Integrated and Non-chemical Amenity Hard Surface Weed Control, paid for by the Government’s Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs and supported by the Health and Safety Executive. It was managed by scientists from the prestigious, Kent based, East Malling horticultural research centre.
Dartford Council along with others have led the way, now other councils such as ours should follow it’s lead and stop using glyphosate in play areas and elsewhere with immediate effect.
The irony here is the fact the O&S chair is Cllr Rebecca Shoob (pictured) and the Cabinet Member for the Environment is Cllr Lesley Whybrow (pictured), are both Green Party Cllrs, whose own party has called for an outright ban due to its harmful effects.
Glyphosate harms the environment and humans evidence strongly suggests; and neither of them seem to have called upon the outright ban of this toxic chemical in play areas across our district. Strange!
Other councils have taken the step to ban glyphosate with immediate affect in childrens play areas, which has been linked to cancer. Alternatives exist which can immediately be put into place. We would ask why the Cabinet Member for the Environment, Cllr Lesley Whyrbow and her party are not calling for such a ban given their alleged green credentials. We’ll leave you to ponder that.
The Shepwayvox Team
Journalism for the People NOT the Powerful