THE use of “dangerous” herbicides to treat weeds is set to be phased out across Colchester.

Colchester Council’s cabinet has voted to stop using glyphosates on its land across the borough.

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.

In 2015, the World Health Organization concluded glyphosates “probably” caused cancer and it said they also damage wildlife and the environment.

The council’s cabinet has now agreed to cease the use of glyphosate herbicides and to work discourage other organisations which use the herbicides within the borough.

Council leader Mark Cory backed the motion and said the council wanted to end the use of the chemicals as soon as possible.

He added: “It is a win for biodiversity and reducing toxins around our borough.”

Colchester Green Party has campaigned on the issue for some time. Steph Nissen, who has led the campaign, said: “It’s a necessary step in the right direction and sends a clear message that Colchester Council and Colchester will not settle for unnecessary health risks.

“Our children have the right to attend schools and play in our parks without risk of being exposed to these chemicals.

“The increasing public support for re-wilding, and letting nature be, is wonderful to observe and adds weight to Essex County Council ceasing glyphosate use also.”

Green councillor and parliamentary candidate Mark Goacher said he was delighted.

He said: “This follows a campaign and report by Colchester Green Party’s glyphosate working group to raise awareness of the dangers of potentially carcinogenic chemicals being sprayed near children’s playgrounds and other areas.

“We very much appreciate the positive lead that Colchester Council and its leader Mark Cory have taken on this and hope that Essex County Council follow suit.”

Last year, Mr Goacher made a Freedom of Information request which revealed the council was spraying glyphosate near children’s playgrounds in Colchester.

The herbicide has also been used at Castle Park.

  • The other candidates standing for election in the General Election in the Colchester constituency are Martin Goss (Lib Dem), Tina McKay (Lab) and Will Quince (Con).