Glyphosate based weed killers

1. Does the council or its contractors currently use glyphosate-based weedkillers?

Yes – Some of the council’s contracts involve the use of glyphosate for weed control.

2. Does the council have any internal guidance on where and how glyphosate-based weedkillers should be used? If yes please attach a copy of the guidance to your return email.

Specific guidance will vary from contract to contract. However, we can confirm that the County Council’s Corporate Grounds Maintenance Contract used for maintenance on many of DCC’s corporate premises states:

“The Contractor shall comply with the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 1988, the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985, the Water Act 1989, the Environmental Protection Act 1990, and The Plant Protection Products (Sustainable Use) Regulations 2012 and all current codes of practice when using herbicides.
Any of the Contractor’s staff who apply herbicides must have a recognized certificate of competence issued as laid down by the Control of Pesticides Regulations 1986.
All application of Herbicides must fully comply with the manufacturer’s instructions and good practice guidance.
Herbicide shall not be applied while the areas being treated are in use.
Where a water bound herbicide spray is used the Contractor will make arrangements to supply water.
Spray only in calm conditions and prevent spray drift onto adjacent plantings, grass, water and neighbouring premises.
Inform the Officer-in-Charge in advance of the Chemicals to be used and liaise concerning the timing of any herbicide application. Not all establishments allow the use of herbicides. Herbicides may only be used where specified by the bills of quantity. The permitted herbicides are as follows: –
Glyphosate (non-irritant formulations approved for amenity use and for use adjacent to water)
Glofosinate Ammonium (Dash), or <1%Glyphosate & surficant and additive AT77 (Preline)

Under this contract Glyphosate may be used for –

Edging around obstructions in regularly cut grass
Edging to the base of walls and fences bordering grass
Spot treating notifiable weeds (such as ragwort) in rough grass or wildflower meadows
Spot treating weeds in shrub beds
Weedkilling weed invading hard surfaces.
Treatment of Japanese knotweed

For all but the last two usage there are non-weed killer maintenance alternatives available if individual sites require. There is currently no pitch marking occurring under the corporate Grounds Maintenance Contract.

3. Can you give me all addresses or types of location (eg park, school playing field etc) where glyphosate-based weedkillers are used by the council?

Many County Council owned sites make autonomous decisions regarding their maintenance arrangements and the County Council does not hold a central record of this information. For example, Devon County Council has a number of tenanted farms where herbicides are potentially used, but the use of these Herbicides is entirely managed by the tenants on the Farms which they manage. Tenants are expected to operate with the requirements of the Law and Good Agricultural Practice

We are unable to supply details of these tenanted farms as this would disclose details of the tenancies and therefore the personal details of the tenants. This would be a breach of their personal data and contrary to the first data protection principle. This information is therefore exempt from publication pursuant to s.40(2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

4. How much has the council spent on glyphosate-based weedkillers for the financial years:

Devon County Council do not hold this information – procurement of glyphosate for use in the DCC Corporate Grounds Maintenance Contract is the responsibility of the contractor.

5. How many complaints has the council received for its use (or its contractors’ use) of glyphosate-based weedkillers in the financial years:

2014-15:  2
2015-16:  0
2016-17:  5
2017-18:  0