On Wednesday, the City of York Council will discuss a 2-year contract for weed maintenance that involves the use of the chemical weed-killer glyphosate, a substance known to cause harm to pollinators and people.
In 2019, York Green Party proposed a motion to Council calling for action to protect our city’s pollinators. The motion included demands for trials to alternatives to glyphosate in managing weeds in York’s highways and green spaces.
The report preceding this decision highlights how the Council uses approximately 460 litres of glyphosate each year. Green Councillors argue that this volume could be greatly reduced if a different approach were taken to weed management, such as manual cutting or the application of hot foam.
Local resident and York Green Party member, Robert Gordon, who has registered to speak at the meeting, said:
“We are facing an unprecedented climate and ecological emergency. When we choose to use harmful chemicals such as glyphosate to get rid of weeds, we are also killing bees and other pollinators. Without pollinators, we would struggle to maintain a healthy environment or grow food to sustain us. Therefore, it is essential that we transition away from the use of glyphosate. Trials by other local Councils show that planet- and pollinator-friendly alternatives are available. York has a responsibility to begin work immediately with experts such as the Pesticide Action Network to develop a plan for our local area to end the use of harmful pesticides.” The decision to extend the weed-killer contract will be discussed at the Council Executive Decision Session for the Environment at 15:00 on Wednesday 12th January.