Sheffield’s parks, cemeteries and housing estates trial a ban on poisonous weed killer – but residents will need to help manage overgrown land

Sheffield Council will stop using a poisonous weed killer but residents will need to help manage overgrown land.

Monday, 20th September 2021, 1:55 pm

Campaigners have been calling for a ban on glyphosate and the council agreed to carry out some trials on council owned land.

But a report says alternative products don’t manage weeds as effectively, or cost considerably more to use.

There will be a trial to stop using glyphosate in Brincliffe but officers say it will need support from residents to help manage weeds and the council will need to understand how willing they are to do that.

Protesters.

The parks service will stop using glyphosate in shrub and rose beds, floral displays, hedgerows and planted areas from April 2022.

The council won’t replace it with other herbicides or other methods of weed control but glyphosate will continue to be used on hard surfaces to keep footpaths clear and safe.

Norton and Beighton cemeteries will undertake glyphosate-free trials but there will need to be more strimming to ensure access to burial plots and remembrance areas.

Ruth Bell, head of parks and countryside, says in a report: “Given the sensitive nature of cemeteries and gardens of remembrance and the perceived link between visual appearance and the dignity of the deceased, it is proposed that changes in this area proceed more slowly than within parks.”

There will be trials to stop using it on housing land in Longley and Gleadless but the report warns people need to be able to move around easily and safely.

“The implications of moving away from glyphosate need to be understood and potential alternatives need to be considered fully in order that particular groups of residents are not disadvantaged by this change.”

The report highlights potential impacts for disabled and older people and adds: “The precise nature of any benefits resulting from a reduction in the use of glyphosate are not known, there are many debates on the subject.

“It is however hoped that the positive implications could include a small but potentially measurable benefit to the health of soil and healthier populations of invertebrates, birds and mammals including bees.”