At its full council meeting last week, Oxford City Council voted against banning glyphosate, the 'probably carcinogenic' weedkiller. The motion - which noted the health concerns surrounding this chemical and called for a year-long transition to non-chemical alternatives - was proposed by the Greens on the council, supported by the Liberal-Democratic group, but voted down by all the Labour Councillors present.
The motion was proposed by Cllr Ruthi Brandt and seconded by Cllr David Thomas.
Cllr Brandt said:
"This is a very disappointing result. Instead of taking the precautionary approach and protecting the health of the city's residents, the Labour group decided to continue with business as usual, confusingly claiming on the one hand that the scientific evidence is not strong enough while on the other saying that the city is already working towards phasing out the use of glyphosate.
However there is growing scientific evidence that glyphosate is a danger to people's health, and while city officers commendably keep glyphosate use at a low level there are currently no specific plans to phase it out completely.
Had this motion passed Oxford would have joined the likes of Edinburgh, Brighton and Hammersmith & Fulham, as well as cities like Paris and Barcelona, in this ban, choosing instead more sustainable alternatives."
South East Green Party MEP, Keith Taylor said:
"I'm very pleased to hear that Greens on Oxford City Council have taken the initiative in proposing a ban on the 'probably carcinogenic' weedkiller glyphosate. Disappointingly, the Council voted down the proposal despite the intensifying public opposition to Monsanto's controversial herbicide. There are a growing number of local authorities taking action against this toxic substance and it is a blow that Oxford won't be joining this group.
Glyphosate-containing herbicides are widely used in agriculture, parks and public spaces across Oxford and throughout Europe, but, and it is difficult to overstate the importance of this, the World Health Organisation has concluded the chemical is 'probably carcinogenic'. Despite two-thirds of citizens across Europe supporting a ban on glyphosate use, the UK government remains a prominent cheerleader for the toxic weedkiller. As a Green MEP, I am continuing to work with my European colleagues to block the controversial substance EU-wide.
Thanks to Greens in the European Parliament, the status of glyphosate is increasingly uncertain across Europe. Thanks to Greens in Oxford, glyphosate is on the local agenda, but the fight to protect local people and ecosystems continues."