Medway Labour and Co-operative Councillors are pleased to see progress is being made on the key issue of herbicides. At the end of last year the Council made the decision to stop using poisonous herbicides in our children’s play areas and around trees.
There was also a commitment to look at alternative ways of clearing unwanted plants from our streets and pavements. This is now being done on a number of our streets where hand weeding, using a sharp hoe and brush, is being used to great effect. Most importantly this means we are no longer have toxic chemicals poured onto some of our local streets.
Nevertheless, the Council continues to spray in most of our greenspaces and the campaign to stop the use of these chemicals altogether goes on.
Councillor Simon Curry, who represents Luton and Wayfield, has been leading this campaign said, “Although we welcome this reduction in the use of herbicides, the fact is that we know they are damaging our environment.
They are designed to kill plants and in the process enter the food chain and are known to seriously affect reptiles and amphibians. The Council needs to take the next step and stop their use altogether.
“The evidence against the use of herbicides in public places is building. They are known to persist in the environment and clearly affect the food chain. There is also evidence to show they may be affecting our own health as well. A number of councils of all political persuasions have taken this next, appropriate step.”
Cllr Curry added “Ultimately we have to ask the question – Do we need to use these chemicals at all? Everyone now realises the importance of our wild flowers and wherever possible we are encouraging them. We have stopped cutting our road verges as much, we have wildflower meadows in our greenspaces and our school playing fields.
“To continue spraying herbicides to kill off the very thing we are trying preserve makes no sense. In the limited areas where we do need to remove vegetation cutting by hand works perfectly well and doesn’t poison the environment.
“This is Mental Health Awareness Week and we know the huge positive value of our greenspaces which shouldn’t have these poisons used on them in this way”
The campaign to stop herbicide use on Council land in Medway continues with a petition on the Medway Council website and hard copies available to download from the Medway Urban Greenspaces Forum website.
The petition can be found here: https://democracy.medway.gov.uk/mgEPetitionDisplay.aspx?ID=127&RPID=37939794&HPID=37939794