Lincoln council dismisses petition to ban ‘dangerous’ weed killer despite cancer risk claims

A petition calling for the City of Lincoln Council to ban controversial and potentially dangerous pesticides is based on statements which have no scientific evidence, the authority said.

Hannah Stephens set up the ‘ban dangerous pesticides in Lincoln’ petition demanding that the city council end the spraying of Monsanto’s Roundup and other glyphosate herbicides in parks and streets.

She claimed that the council was exposing children and animals to harmful chemicals, putting residents’ health and wellbeing at risk.

The petition set up by Hannah Stephens

The petition set up by Hannah Stephens has received 290 signatures

Hannah said: “The use of glyphosates has already been banned or restricted in eight countries.

“It is not acceptable that ourselves, our children and the animals we share our community with are being routinely exposed to these chemicals whether we like it or not.

“This is a matter of great importance for those of us who care about each other’s health and the health of our children, our cats, our dogs and all the flora and fauna of this city, of course including our beloved bees.”

A list compiled by campaign group Pesticide Action Network UK has identified glyphosate restrictions and bans around the world, including in the UK.

Councils in Brighton, Hammersmith and Fulham, Bristol, Glastonbury, Frome, Erewash, Aberdeen and Edinburgh have all either stopped or restricted the use of glyphosate weedkillers.

Countries as varied as Malta and Sri Lanka have also introduced a complete ban on glyphosate.

Cities in Europe including Barcelona and Hamburg, as well as areas in American states such as California and New York have also banned the pesticide, in some cases entirely, but in others just in public parks and golf courses.

“No scientific evidence”

The city council has dismissed these allegations, stating that the arguments put forward in the petition have been discredited by experts.

John Latham, Strategic Director of Communities and Environment, said: “City of Lincoln Council takes its use of pesticides very seriously and will always try to use the minimum amount necessary for effective control.

“We do not spray randomly, we target weeds using the technologically advanced Weed-It system which utilises electronics to identify weeds only and then spot treats them.

We understand there have previously been concerns raised about glyphosate but the World Health Organisation has stated there is no scientific evidence to show that it presents an unacceptable risk to people or the environment.

“As a responsible public body we only use approved products and we will continue to monitor developments with regards to the approval of glyphosate and if there are any changes with that we will explore alternative methods.”

There is some confusion over whether glyphosate poses a cancer risk.

A 2016 United Nations and World Health Organisation report concluded that there was no cancer risk to using glyphosate.

However, a report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2015 said that glyphosate is probably carcinogenic.

The European Commission has adopted the extension of the current approval of glyphosate for a limited period until the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) concludes its review.