Glyphosate is the active substance in many herbicides (weed killers) and is widely used around the world. It is a non-selective, systemic herbicide/weedkiller and was first used in the UK in 1976.
Glyphosate is effective in controlling most weed species including perennials and grasses in many situations including amenity, forestry, aquatic and industrial situations. It is used by lots of people from farmers to foresters to gardeners to biologists trying to control invasive exotic plants.
Since it is approved for use in many countries, it has been subject to extensive testing and regulatory assessment in the EU, USA and elsewhere, and by the World Health Organisation.
Glyphosate is an approved product and can be used until at least December 2025
Where do we use glyphosate?
We only carry out weed treatment in areas where it is absolutely necessary to do so. We no longer use herbicides in our green open spaces, which includes children’s play areas, parks, and schools.
Herbicide treatments are now restricted to use on footways and roadside kerbs. We also carry out treatments around highway street furniture, and trees located within the 30mph speed zone of our villages and towns. This includes spraying around street signs to ensure they remain clearly visible.
This targeted approach to weed treatment ensures that our footways remain safe and accessible to use and reduces the likelihood of costly repairs to footway and road surfaces from persistent uncontrolled weed growth.
Are staff trained to apply glyphosate?
The Law requires all individuals using Pesticides in Agriculture, Horticulture, Forestry, Industrial and Amenity on or near water to possess a valid pesticide certificate in order to comply with regulations. Legislation applies to Volunteers, Employed or Self employed, regardless of the size of the company or frequency of spraying operations, even if spraying your own land.
All staff undertaking spraying operations are trained to the following standards:
PA1 NPTC Award Level 2 The Safe Use of Pesticides
The course covers legislation, precautions necessary to use a product safely, using product label information, maintenance and storage, personal protective equipment, using label information, COSHH risk assessment and personal hygiene procedures, procedures for dealing with accidental personal contamination, the storage of pesticides, disposal of empty pesticide containers, surplus pesticide and washings, records and risks to people or the environment.
PA2 – Technical Award in Boom Sprayer – Hydraulic Nozzle
The course covers the use of vehicle mounted/trailer boom spraying equipment
PA6 – Safe Use and Handling of Pesticides Using a Knapsack Sprayer
The course covers the use of hand held applicators to apply pesticides, pellets or granules to land
Are we looking at alternatives to glyphosate?
We are looking at alternatives and are trialling various products to test for effectiveness in killing weeds and the economical costs involved. Some examples are detailed below:
This is an expensive option to set up and is only suited to small areas due to the time involved in applying the foam. Tests have shown that the initial application kills the weeds on the surface, but regrowth is appearing after a few weeks requiring further treatment.
Industrial Vinegar Based Products
Trials have taken place using these products which are effective in the short term but require repeat applications as the product does not kill the roots of the weeds. The cost of these products is currently under review.
Manual Removal of Weeds
This process is very time consuming and requires repeat treatment if the root of the weeds cannot be removed.
Is glyphosate used in other areas ?
Glyphosate is used in a number of ways in agriculture in the UK and globally. It is the active ingredient in the world’s most-used weed killer, Roundup. In the UK it is used in stubble fields for weed control before planting and before new crops start to appear. It is also used on cereals and oilseed rape before harvest to help make harvesting easier, control weeds, reduce disease and the potential for natural contaminants to develop, and to curb the number of weeds in the following season.
Glyphosate reduces the need for ploughing, which helps the environment through reducing CO2 emissions, minimising soil erosion, and improving soil quality. Regulatory bodies around the world have looked at the scientific evidence and concluded that glyphosate poses no risk to people when used correctly.