Folkestone & Hythe District Council Continue to Spray Toxic Glyphosate Weedkiller in District Play Areas

Lydd Play areaGlyphosate 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.

Glyphosate is also restricted or banned in 40 countries around the world.

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.

Areil Runway RP

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.

Screenshot from 2020-05-12 22-40-11

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.

Cllr Rebecca Shoob Whybrow

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

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7 Comments on Folkestone & Hythe District Council Continue to Spray Toxic Glyphosate Weedkiller in District Play Areas

  1. Chris Bown // May 22, 2020 at 09:38 // Reply

    Thanet council have already been spraying all over Ramsgate I stopped using glyphosphate since 1998 even though I know it was the best on the market for the eradication of brushwood weeds etc as I went organic and there are organic non harmful to everyone and every animal /insects yes you will have to do an area possibly one extra time but for every part of the planets sake what is best. The one’s spraying in Ramsgate have a mask on normal overalls no gloves as they spray from their quad bike with tanks on the back spray has to bounce up and hit there clothes occasionally and unless they have gloves hidden somewhere they will touch chemical. Health and safety is non existence its possible that they will have disposable gloves on but I’m 99%sure that they were not wearing any. No this chemical should be banned from all usage. I was under the impression that it was already banned from normal sale as a garden weed killer. Thanks for the posting. Chris

  2. It is disgusting that 2 Green party cllrs have signed it off for use do they really read documents or just say yes that’s OK. Well it is not OK possible it is a cheaper way to keep pathways clear but not at cost of everyone’s children included’s health even worse its used around play areas. Do you keep people and pets away from the treatment areas for a minimum of 4 hours to allow it to dry no is the answer a child walks along touching the low grass still wet poison enters there body by the skin or worse still they put hand to the mouth kids lick there fingers poisoned this is facts it can and does happen not very nice seeing a child suffering at anytime let alone because it could be avoided by a bit of thought by a council. Chris

  3. Why did it take a Labour Cllr to bring forward a motion on glyphosate, which clearly damages the environment? Just seems to show what the local Green Party do and say are two different things. I made a mistake voting for them here in Hythe. Won’t happen again.

  4. Appalling Journalism, not one of those claims of the negative impacts of glyphosate can be backed up with peer reviewed papers. There is overwhelming scientific evidence that glyphostae causes no negative effects to human health. Having published research on it in the Journal of applied biology i have read most of the papers out there. It is hugely irresponsible to scaremonger over the safest plant protection product that we will ever know for the sake of a few cheap clicks.

    • shepwayvox // May 22, 2020 at 22:14 // Reply

      And the $79 million dollar award plus the other successful court cases. What of them?

  5. Wether Glyphosate is safe or not, play areas are currently closed to all, so the council could use up their stocks in the meantime and revert to a more socially acceptable product going forward. Saves a little cash think.

    • “Play areas are currently closed to all” ????

      I haven’t noticed the kiddy play area in Dymchurch Recreation Ground being closed

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