COLCHESTER Council is set to phase out the use of “dangerous” herbicides... but the move could cost the authority an extra £80,000 a year.

The authority’s conservation and environmental sustainability task and finish group is recommending the council’s cabinet approve plans to stop using glyphosates.

Areas where there is a high risk of human contact will be prioritised and the frequency of weed control measures could be scaled back in a bid to encourage biodiversity.

Most up-to-date estimates state switching to chemical-free, healthier alternatives to glyphosates could cost the council an extra £80,000 each financial year.

Colchester Green Party have campaigned on the issue and the councillor Mark Goacher (Green, Castle) welcomed the move.

He said: “I am very pleased this is happening as currently this dangerous chemical is sprayed near to children’s playgrounds.

“Colchester Green Party’s Glyphosate Working Group presented a full report on this to the Cabinet.

"I welcome the positive approach by the current council leader Mark Cory to this issue but we must ensure it happens and a herbicide free alternative such as Foamstream is used.

“It is now for Essex County Council who also spray glyphosates in Colchester to follow this lead.”

A report states tenants of Colchester Borough Homes properties may have to pay additional maintenance costs, unless the housing firm receives extra funding to cover the increase.

The council will “seek to negotiate on extra costs” to get better value for taxpayers.

In 2015 the World Health Organization concluded glyphosates “probably” cause cancer and it also damages wildlife and the environment.

If the recommendation is approved by cabinet the council will also work with other authorities, organisations and companies to encourage them to also stop using glyphosates.

In July Colchester Council unanimously voted to declare a climate emergency.