Sheffield City Council plan to reduce glyphosate use welcomed

Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust welcomes Sheffield City Council’s commitment to reduce their use of the herbicide glyphosate.

The council confirmed its approach in a press release last week, which detailed that it had stopped using glyphosate in shrub beds, floral displays, rose beds, hedgerows, channels, permeable hard surfacing and planted areas in October 2021, and is aiming to end obstacle and “mowing strip” spraying on highway verges, parks and countryside sites and cemeteries.

Glyphosate was concluded to be a “probable carcinogen” for humans by the World Health Organisation in 2015 and can also have significant ecological impacts, with particular concern regarding insects and other animals which depend on them for food.

Sheffield City Council has also confirmed it plans an initial trial of a completely glyphosate free area in Brincliffe, with other trial areas of the city to be identified in due course. The trial will be followed up with a report and continued assessment of the changes throughout 2022.

Ian Cracknell, Advocacy Officer at Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust said:

“We welcome this encouraging announcement. Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust have previously written to both Sheffield City Council and Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council to request data on their glyphosate use in response to concerns from our members.

“We also wrote to Sheffield City Council’s Parks and Countryside department and Streets Ahead with evidence of unnecessary overuse of glyphosate around trees, in parks and other green spaces. We are pleased that Sheffield City Council have responded to concerns raised by us, other organisations and individuals.

“We look forward to more details about the results of Sheffield City Council’s glyphosate-free area trials this spring, and we will also be writing to Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council to highlight this and ask for more information about their approach to reducing glyphosate use”.

Find out more about what you can do to help insects thrive in our Action For Insects campaign.

Image: Bochum Parkway road verge, Sheffield – Olivia Richardson