Sheffield City Council reduce weed killer use to boost local ecosystems

17 February 2022

Sheffield City Council have vowed to reduce the use of weed killer in order to evaluate the environmental impact of allowing weeds to grow.

Glyphosate is a chemical commonly used in weed-killers, the new scheme will aim to introduce glyphosate free areas in some parts of the city.

Lindy Stone, a coordinator for Sheffield Friends of the Earth, said: “The council could do a lot more to protect ecosystems and needs to work more in partnership with local wildlife and nature organisations, as well as local environmental groups.

“We accept that government policy and the impact of the pandemic has left them very short of money but the glyphosate issue has been a running sore for years and they have been slow to adapt”

“We are well behind other cities on issues such as this, for example the use of electric buses, which we don’t have at all”.

Councillor Paul Wood said: “We understand the concerns around the use of glyphosate and in recent years our services have been working together to share best practice with other authorities around the country to find ways to reduce its use.

“Whilst weeds may not always look visually appealing, they play an important role in the wider ecosystem.”

Weeds in Sheffield

Cllr Wood did however outline the issues with the plan: “There are no comparable alternatives that achieve the same results as glyphosate, especially when it comes to public safety and visibility.

“As a result, residents may start to notice things looking somewhat different and areas won’t have the same pristine look they perhaps had before.”

“We also know that the responsible use of weed killers can help deliver substantial benefits for society including management of conservation areas, flood risks, access to high quality sports facilities and safe public spaces.”

The Council will report on the glyphosate free zones to determine how much of an impact they have and will decide whether to continue with the plan soon after this.

Glyphosate is used in many every day weed killers and is also used in farming to protect crops from unwanted plant growth.

Sheffield City Council have further information on their use of weed killers here.

Written by Dylan Oakley

I am a trainee journalist at the University of Sheffield originally from Derby.

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