NATURALISTS have joined a global campaign to ban the public use of pesticides in their area.
Havant Friends of the Earth are trying to confront Havant Borough Council on the use of potentially harmful chemicals.
We’re asking councils to make a commitment to stop using pesticides on all the areas that it controls.Nick Mole
Working with the Pesticide Action Network (Pan) UK and veteran campaigner Brian Fellows, the FoE’s effort is part of a larger push to prevent use of glyphosates through products like pesticides and herbicides.
In March, the World Health Organisation ruled that glyphosates are ‘probably carcinogenic,’ meaning that they can pose a risk of cancer.
Patricia Williamson, membership secretary of Havant FoE, was made aware of the anti-glyphosate drive by her daughter, who is a scientific officer for Pan UK.
After submitting a Freedom of Information request, Patricia learned that Havant council treats all highways, footpaths and access ways with glyphosates twice a year.
She said: ‘It is not the residents we are aiming at – you can do what you like in your own garden or on your farm.
‘This is strictly on the council spraying in public places.’
Patricia is unsure when Havant will be pesticide-free, but says that there is ‘quite a lot of enthusiasm’ following talks with Pan UK.
Pan UK policy officer Nick Mole said: ‘We’re very positive not just about Havant but on a wider scale. There’s no reason why the people of Havant shouldn’t live under a pesticide-free regime.’
Both Havant FoE and Pan UK recognise that pesticides are not illegal and that residents are freely allowed to use them in their households, but are encouraging local authorities to change their ways.
Nick added: ‘We’re asking councils to make a commitment to stop using pesticides on all the areas that it controls.’
Areas around the country that have already found success in their campaigns include Brighton and Hove, Lewes and Hackney.
The European Commission has also recommended a minimal use of the substance in public parks and gardens to their member states.
Havant FoE have launched a petition for residents to help push the campaign. At least 1,500 signatures are need to present the issue to the council. To sign the petition, email Patricia at firstname.lastname@example.org