Ban on common weed killer could create £228 million council tax bombshell

Last week I was given access to some research which has been made available to the Amenity Forum on Glyphosate and how much it is going to cost us the Tax Payers if it gets banned! Which I have to say, as a tax payer, I’m not very happy about. The research shows that a ban on weed killers containing glyphosate would add £228 million to the UK’s council tax bill each year.

This means, the additional tax requirements for funding the alternatives would require an increase in the average household council tax bill of £7.80 – half the band D rate increase in 2015/16.

You’re probably thinking – is this really going to affect me though Jim? Well, these figures come at a time when no less than 30 local authorities are being lobbied by some in their communities to ban the same weed killers that are used in amenity areas and gardens throughout the UK.... so yes this could really affect you!!

Weed killers are used by local authorities for management of public spaces, including pavements, parks, schools and local authority play areas. I do not believe in spraying chemicals if there are other alternative methods which will have the same effect. The non-chemical alternatives to treating roads and pavements for weeds have a place as part of an integrated approach to weed management but, as extensive research has shown, cannot currently compete with weed killers in normal day to day operations on economic or effectiveness grounds.

The research that I was shown has concluded that:

  • A local authority ban on common weed killers used in the professional amenity and garden sectors which contain glyphosate would add £228 million to council tax bills each year
  • This has been calculated as a cost equivalent to current funding for 11,438 adult social care workers
  • The ban could force some UK councils to spend considerable sums in capital outlays to replace conventional spraying systems with alternative approaches

New economic figures unveiled today reveal the cost to the local taxpayer of banning common weed killers to keep pavements, parks and public places weed free.

I had a chat to the Amenity Forum Chairman, Professor John Moverley OBE, and he said:

“At a time when Local Authorities are faced with acute budget pressures, it is important that decisions are based upon science and evidence. Nobody working in the professional amenity sector would wish to do anything to endanger public health and safety and always makes use of all options available. Any weed killer coming to market undertakes rigorous testing before it is released and during its use.

Weed killers used in the amenity sector have been proven time and time again to be safe – no less than 28 independent global regulators and thousands of scientific studies over 40 years back this up.  They are used across the diverse and important amenity sector as part of an integrated approach, keeping our railways running, maintaining our world class sports surfaces, for woodlands and much more. This research has just highlighted the costs of keeping pavements weed free. The total amenity cost would be substantially more.

As the voluntary initiative for the sector, we seek to provide an independent voice promoting best practice in all aspects of weed and pest management. We recognize concerns can arise but, in dealing with them, we need a rational debate based upon science and facts. The management of weeds and pests in amenity impacts upon every UK citizen’’

As the voluntary initiative for the sector, the Amenity Forum provides an independent voice promoting best practice in all aspects of weed and pest management. It’s important to remember that any weed killer coming to market undertakes rigorous testing before it is released and during its use. Over 40 years of robust scientific evidence, supported by one of the most extensive human health, crop residue and environmental databases ever compiled on any pesticide shows no risk to safety.

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