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Proposal to cut glyphosate use on grass and flower beds

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New ways of killing weeds in grass and flower beds could be adopted permanently after successful trials last year, a committee will be told.

Dudley Council bosses were asked to look at its use of glyphosate to control the growth of weeds.

Glyphosate-free Katoun Gold and Chikara, as well as the herbicide-free Foamstream, were used as part of the trials. Workers also cleared some weeds manually using hedge cutters and strimmers.

Members of the local authority’s climate change and environment scrutiny committee will be told alternatives were adopted in four areas of the borough last year.

Trials took place using alternatives to glyphosate at Gig Mill estate in Norton, Stourbridge; Hurst Green in Halesowen; The Straits in Lower Gornal; and on the Hawbush estate in Brierley Hill.

The committee will be told the trials showed Katoun Gold and Chikara were highly effective in clearing weeds from grass edges and shrub beds.

A report says the council could reduce its use of glyphosate by 37 per cent by adopting the two pesticides on grass edges and shrub beds across the borough.

But to do so could cost the authority around £37,000 extra per year on top of the £330,000 it already spends to control weeds, the report says.

The committee will be told Foamstream is the only viable alternative to glyphosate to control weeds on hard surfaces, and even then is not suitable as a direct replacement in all locations. Members will have to decide whether to order a further review into its effectiveness before a final recommendation is made, the report says.

Councillor Shaz Saleem, cabinet member for highways and public realm, said:

The council safely uses glyphosate as part of its weed control programme, along with many other local authorities in the country.
However we are aware there is a view that the authority should look to move away from its use and look at alternatives.
I think what the trials have shown clearly is that a one size fits all approach is not appropriate. Our approach for tackling weeds in parks, compared to how we tackle them on roads and hard surfaces, should be very different.
It has identified that we could use alternatives in some cases, albeit with a significant added cost.
It’s not an easy decision to make – but I look forward to hearing the views of the committee and working with them moving forwards to come up with the best solution.

The scrutiny committee meeting takes place on Monday (Jan 23) from 6pm in the council chamber at Dudley Council House. Members of the public are welcome to attend.

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