Southend to stop using controversial weed killer

Southend Council is set to drop the use of a dangerous chemical to destroy weeds in parks and open spaces.

The council came under fire last summer for the wholesale use of glyphosate across Southend, which left vivid yellow scorch marks on verges and around trees in spaces like East Beach, and left dog owners worried about their pets’ health.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer labelled glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic” and some retailers such as Waitrose have stopped selling it because of the dangers to human health.

Carole Mulroney, councillor responsible for Environment, Culture, Tourism and Planning, said: “We are putting £120,000 into the phasing out of glyphosate in our parks and gardens as a pilot scheme. It’s been quite a hot topic over the last year so we’ve honoured the commitment I made to do something about that.

“We’re going to be looking at a range of alternatives because it’s not an easy thing to change from so we’re going to be looking at some of it being manual, some of it will probably be water based solutions. There’s a whole range of things we can look at to see which is the most effective.”

Cllr Mulroney added: “Glyphosate is the thing that knocks everything out and does it in one fell swoop so it’s going to be quite a challenge but it’s a challenge we’ve got to rise to because obviously people don’t want to be using these sorts of chemicals.

“We want to find more environmentally friendly methods of doing it so it’s probably going to be quite labour intensive because of trying out different elements but that will be over the course of the year and we’ll see how we go from there.”

Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter