Guernsey Press

Amateurs to be banned from using glyphosate weedkiller

GUERNSEY’S gardeners will soon have one less tool in their trug when tackling weeds, as the States has announced an imminent ban on the general sale of glyphosate.

(Picture by Shutterstock)

The move has been prompted by evidence of increased contamination of the island’s water courses – especially in the north – but yesterday’s announcement came as a surprise John Henry, a certified user of the chemical, who described it as ‘the safest herbicide we’ve ever had’.

From Monday 31 October, local retailers will no longer be able to sell products containing glyphosate, which is the active ingredient in products such as Roundup and Weedol Pathclear, ‘for use in the garden or as an amateur product’. Certified users, including the States’ own Agriculture, Countryside & Land Management Services, will be able to go on using the chemical.

The restriction is being introduced by the States Health & Safety Executive.

‘We’ve been keeping retailers aware of our work in this area and have contacted them already to let them know that from the end of October they won’t be able to sell these products unless it’s for professional use,’ said chief health and safety officer Robin Gonard.

‘Many of the pesticides you find on the shop shelves already don’t contain glyphosate, as the industry increasingly moves away from it, and so we don’t expect this to have a significant impact for businesses, but we do believe it will help improve water quality and protect our biodiversity.’

Mr Gonard said about 100 local farmers, growers, gardening services firms and others had the City & Guilds NPTC level 2 award in the safe use and application of pesticides that would enable them to go on ordering glyphosate online. Importation by others will be policed by the Border Agency.

HSE said it had reviewed its records and ‘found no evidence to link professional use with areas where high readings have been recorded in water courses’.

Gardeners holding glyphosate products will no longer be able to use them from next year.

‘We won’t be knocking on doors and checking inside sheds,’ Mr Gonard said, ‘but we hope that people will understand the need for the restriction and follow the new rules.’

Mr Henry, said he was unconvinced by the move.

‘I would have thought any ban would have to go to the States members for a vote,’ he said, ‘so I’m surprised it’s suddenly been announced like this. It’s the safest herbicide we’ve ever had.’

Mr Henry wrote to all States members earlier this year, encouraging them not to believe ‘misinformation’ about the harmful effects of the product.