Who are we?
We are a coalition of organisations, community groups, political parties and individuals that are committed to help support Essex County Council and the district, Town and Parish councils in Essex to go Pesticide free. We include the following groups:
- En-form; Registered charity
- Southeast Essex Organic Gardeners
- Eco Essex and it’s local eco groups
- Cross party-political support across Colchester
- Independent councillors
Our campaign strengthens existing organisations and campaigns including PAN UK , Plant Life and Wild Justice We work closely with PAN UK and refer you to their website for further information on pesticides.
Our focus is to encourage all councils across Essex, including Essex County Council to phase out and eventually ban pesticides. Specifically, we are focussing on chemical weed killers such as those containing glyphosate.
There is increasing concern from citizens, local authorities and governments about the impacts of pesticides on human and environmental health.
As a result, towns and cities across the UK are considerably reducing, if not completely eradicating the use of pesticides in urban spaces, and are switching to non-chemical methods of weed control.
PAN UK works with local councillors and council officers to develop a policy framework for a transition to non-chemical alternatives. Examples include Bristol, Lewes, Hammersmith & Fulham.
Many councils across the UK (and the world) have banned pesticides in favour of safer public and environmental health.
In addition to local authorities, we are also asking private land managers, schools and households to not use chemical pesticides.
Progress across Essex so far
Congratulations to the following councils for becoming ‘Pesticide Free’
Which other councils will take the pledge?
Why are pesticides and why are they bad?
Pesticides are designed to kill pests. They include a wide range of compounds including herbicides (designed to kill plants), insecticides (designed to kill insects), and rodenticides (designed to kill rodents such as rats). The word ‘CIDE’ which forms part of the word pesticide means ‘to kill’.
Weed killers are a type of pesticide. A very common ingredient included in many chemical weed killers is a toxic ingredient called glyphosate.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that over 350,000 people die every year from acute pesticide poisoning.
Glyphosate is rarely used on its own, but as part of a chemical cocktail, for instance with the trade name Roundup or Weedol.
Glyphosate is the most widely and heavily used agrichemical worldwide, in agriculture, parks, schools, hospitals, streets and amenities as well as in gardens.
Glyphosates have been shown to be harmful to humans, animals including pets and biodiversity. Research suggests that the weed killer has been linked to cancer, heart disease, autoimmune conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, birth defects and Parkinson’s. Three landmark cases in the US have seen huge settlements given for glyphosate-caused cancer.
Glyphosates take a long time to degrade. Producers claim it will degrade in anything from two days to half a year. Other reports say the figure is actually three years.
It has been classified as a ‘probable human carcinogen’ by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) says that glyphosate is safe. However, most of their research is provided by the industry which created the herbicide. They haven’t tested the various individual commercial formulations. And regulation safety tests on mammals cover a short period, a maximum 90 days. No-one knows the effect of long-term exposure to these toxic chemicals.
In terms of licencing in the EU, a recent long battle between the agrichemical industry, who wanted a full 15 year renewal, and concerned environmental NGOs and individuals, who wanted glyphosate banned – a licence has been granted for 5 years. The EU Commission also added certain recommendations for its use: including to minimise its use in specific areas, such as public parks and playgrounds.
Across EU member states, several have implemented, or are in the process of implementing, bans of the herbicide. Now is the time for our councils to take local action.
Alternatives to glyphosates
There are many other safer alternatives to these chemicals, including hand pulling, heat and mechanical machines, technology such as foamstream and importantly, public perception of ‘weeds’ all of which keep staff safe too.
We refer you to the following website where there is significant information, case studies and alternatives to consider.
Have you been affected by pesticides?
If you, a pet or wildlife has been poisoned or affected by pesticides we want to hear from you. Please take part in our survey.
Want to take action?
- Follow and like ‘Pesticide Free Essex’ (engage and share our posts to help raise awareness) use the hashtag #pesticidefreeessex
- Are you an active pesticide free campaign group in Essex? Please get in touch so that we can work together.
- Join a local pesticide free campaign group in Essex, if there isn’t one near you, why not start one? We will support you all the way!
Active groups to join:
- Eco Colchester
- PACE Manningtree
- Eco Rochford
- Pesticide Free Rochford District
- South East Essex Organic Gardeners
Group action tools
We can equip you with tools such as letters or emails to councillors, supermarkets and social media campaign material.
Ask your councillors to take the Pesticide-Free Towns Pledge
- Letter to council (borough, town and Parish)
- Letter to Essex County Council
- Letter to MP
- Letter to school
- Letter to private land owners (estates, sports grounds etc)
- Letter to supermarkets / DIY store / garden centres
- Pesticide information leaflet for general use
If you want to find out exactly what chemical your council is using, you are entitled by law to know this information under the Freedom of Information Act. Feel free to use this template to gather the necessary information.