Statement on use of glyphosate weedkiller

There has been some public concern about the use of the weedkiller glyphosate and potential health implications of using the chemical. We use glyphosate and here is some explanation of the regulation and use of the product.

All chemicals used for weed, pest and disease management in the UK must first go through extensive testing and authorisation. Professional Plant Protection Products, as applied in public places by trained, competent and professional users, are more regulated and have greater controls in place concerning the protection of the public health and the environment than herbicides available to domestic users.

Active ingredients in pesticides for use in the UK, such as glyphosate, are scrutinised by experts and only authorised after extensive testing and a full review of all the science and evidence. Any product such as Round-Up (which contains glyphosate) then must be approved for use in the UK again following extensive analysis.

Despite concerns from around the world, the scientific consensus on the use of glyphosate remains unchanged. More than 800 scientific studies, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and other regulatory agencies around the world have concluded that glyphosate is safe for its intended use.

In December 2017, the EU re-authorised the use of glyphosate for another five years following robust scientific and regulatory assessment. That process included a review of all relevant claims that  glyphosate could cause cancer. This included those of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), whose findings played a substantial role in overseas court cases.

Notwithstanding this evidence, we also take additional precautions when using the chemical. Only staff and contractors who have been suitably trained are allowed to use glyphosate. We also avoid spraying near water courses or in play areas, and we only spray  when weather conditions are appropriate – for example, we do not spray in high winds when the chemical could affect a wider area.