(Including Great Britain)
This year (June 2016), against the wishes of the European Parliament and the European Council, the European Commission voted in favour of extending the registration of glyphosate for a further 18 months (not the 15 years which Monsanto wanted).
However, there were conditions attached with which member states will have to comply:
- A ban of a co-formulant POE-tallowamine from glyphosate-based products
- Minimizing the use in specific areas such as public parks and playgrounds
- Obligations to reinforce scrutiny of pre-harvest use of glyphosate
There is considerable diversity of pesticide regulation in public spaces in the EU. Here are some examples.
Pesticide bans – Country
From 1 January 2017, pesticides were banned in all public green spaces. In addition, non-professional gardeners are no longer able to buy pesticides over the counter. The pesticide ban covers public forests, parks and gardens, (but not the use in cemeteries). The new law also stipulates that pesticides will be prohibited in private gardens from 2019. From 2020, use for non-agricultural purposes will be banned except for use on railways, airports and roadways.
Pitchcare a turf management company reported in November 2016 that Slovakia has withdrawn all non-agricultural uses of pesticides except for those used to maintain railways, drainage and irrigation channels and forestry areas.
Glyphosate bans – Country
September 2016. In Italy, spraying of the active ingredient glyphosate has been banned in areas frequented by the public or by “vulnerable groups”. This includes gardens, courtyards, roadways, sports fields, recreational areas, playgrounds, green areas outside school buildings and other green spaces.
In addition, the pre-harvest use of Glyphosate–a process known as desiccation–is banned. The desiccation of crops by spraying glyphosate is a primary source for residual pesticide contamination at the consumer level. Finally, the non-agricultural use of glyphosate is banned on soils composed 80% or more of sand–a measure designed to protect groundwater from contamination.
January 2017: Weedkillers containing both the controversial glyphosate and POE-tallowamine can no longer be sold in Malta, and their use will be completely banned from April 2017. The ban comes days after the release of a study showing the glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup caused liver disease in rats.
Effective in 2015, the sale and use of glyphosate-based herbicides was banned for non-commercial use in the country.
(British Overseas Territory)
May 2015: Global Research reports that following a recent study on Monsanto’s best-selling herbicide Roundup and its main chemical ingredient glyphosate, Bermuda has decided to suspend any importation of glyphosate/Roundup until further research give reason to lift the suspension.
Reduced pesticide use – Country
Over the past 20 years, Denmark has actively moved towards alternatives to pesticides in urban areas. Their approach has also stimulated research and development of alternatives. The Danish Working Environment Authority (WEA) has declared glyphosate a carcinogen, according to a report in the Danish news outlet Nyhederne. This means that they will demand that due care is taken when it is used, and they will recommend a change to other less toxic chemicals. Pesticide-free golf course management is often considered impossible but Denmark has done it!
No Action – Country
Although there has been little debate in Finland on the application of pesticides in urban areas, pesticide use is still among the lowest in Europe, mainly due to the low population density and short vegetation period, which causes fewer weed problems.
Glyphosate restrictions – States or Provinces
2016 March: Regional environment ministers in the Brussels and Wallonia jurisdictions in Belgium have said they will ban glyphosate – a pesticide which some say probably causes cancer and whose EU stamp of approval is up for renewal.
The ministers, Celine Fremault and Carlo Di Antonio, said on Tuesday (8 March) in a joint statement that they were “stunned” that Belgium’s federal government had supported a European Commission proposal to renew glyphosate approval for another 15 years (after an outcry, eventually 18 months).
Restrictions – Municipalities
Pitchcare reported in November 2016 that permission is required for hard surface use but that all other uses in municipalities are still allowed.
Germany shows a very clear pattern of corporate influence behind the scenes of government. Although the German state consumer protection ministers called for a ban on glyphosate in May 2015, the German federal government insists on its safety. This illustrates again corrupting corporate influence – two of the biggest players in the agrochemical industry – Bayer and BASF — are German firms. More worryingly, Bayer has had a meeting with US President Trump for regulatory approval to merge with Monsanto.
The risk assessment for the re-registration of glyphosate in the EU was prepared by the Rapporteur Member State, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) for the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the primary agency of the European Union. On this basis, the EFSA concluded that ‘glyphosate is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans and the evidence does not support classification with regard to its carcinogenic potential’. An analysis of this is here. This is directly at odds with the report by experts at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). According to a report from Science in Society, unlike IARC, BfR and its federal agency partners did not actually review the published toxicology studies. Instead they relied on a summary provided to them by the Glyphosate Task Force (GTF) which consisted of Monsanto and a consortium of chemical companies all over Europe, including Syngenta UK and Dow Italy. They included many unpublished industry studies not externally available. More information here.
(PAN UK is the main source for the following municipalities)
In March 2016 Brighton & Hove Council voted unanimously to ban the use of glyphosate and move to pesticide free methods.
In March 2016, Bristol Council began chemical-free weed control trials in Cotham Ward. By October 2016, Bristol City Council had not completed the 12 month trial in Cotham ward for alternatives to glyphosate and could make no recommendations. However, the Pesticide Safe Bristol Alliance believes the trial has been designed to fail.
Hammersmith & Fulham
In June 2016 The London Borough has decided to go pesticide free and is now trialing non-pesticide methods. This makes it the first London Borough to do so.
In June 2015 Glastonbury Town Council voted to ban glyphosate, with the decision taking effect immediately and before it trialled alternatives.
2015, October: Erewash Borough Council has stopped using glyphosate weedkillers containing polyethoxylated tallow amines (POEA), or tallow.
July 2015: Aberdeen City Council is cutting back on its use of herbicides and using only water. The Cardley-Wave equipment is used widely across Europe but Aberdeen City is the first council in the UK to adopt the system.
July 2016: Frome Town Council has banned the use of glyphosate
Shaftesbury, North Dorset
In June 2016 Glyphosate was banned throughout its public spaces.
Dec 2015 Council have now agreed to explore phasing out glyphosate entirely, with officers also committing to undertake at least two pilots aimed at trialling other weedkilling approaches. A report outlining future options will be presented within 12 months.
In December 2015 the City Council decided to stop the use of glyphosate in public parks and green spaces. They established a maximum transition period of one year to reach the target. The City Council’s briefing note said that work will begin towards a publicly managed ecological style of gardening, avoiding the use of pesticides, excessive pruning, and the use of species that are not adapted to the environment or that have excessive need for water. They intended to inform the public of the reasons for avoiding the use of glyphosate and the benefits to the urban landscape.
Restrictions – Organisations
2016, September. The Swiss House of Representatives rejected a petition from various organisations such as Greenpeace and the Consumers’ Association for French-speaking Switzerland, which called for a ban on the use of all synthetic chemical pesticides. However in 2015, two Swiss retailers, Coop and Migros, stopped selling glyphosate products.
From September 2015, the REWE retail group stopped selling glyphosate products.