The States of Guernsey Assembly recently brought up pesticides in their debate,
Deputy Al Brouard, President of Health and Social Services was the first to raise a question:
“There are concerns about the use of pesticides locally and weedkillers etc…could the Committee just consider publishing a list of alternatives for farmers and households? I think I’ve heard things like boiling water, vinegar, obviously manual extraction, natural mulches, but I think it would be helpful, I know Guernsey Water put out their concerns, but it would be helpful to have the other side of the coin, is what we can do instead that would help householders.”
The response from Deputy Lindsay De Sausmarez, President of Environment and Infrastructure committee gave a good overview of where Guernsey is currently at:
“Yes, absolutely, we are working with the Pollinator Project and Guernsey Water on exactly that and Deputy Brouard has just saved my voice a little bit because he has listed some really great alternatives and the ones I would have used. And we are walking the walk in that respect, States Works have barely used any glyphosate, certainly since 2020. There are occasions where there really aren’t workable alternatives or not pragmatic ones, for example in the control of noxious weeds such as Japanese Knotweed and the treatment of Asian Hornets is another area where we have to use chemicals but that’s very, very carefully controlled. We have taken various steps in terms internally but we are working with the Pollinator Project in particular and a big part of that includes a communications plan which we are working with them hand-in-hand on to get those very important messages out into the public domain. Its not just about alternative products, it’s also about alternative management techniques.
Recategorising weeds into wild flowers is one of my favourite methods, that can be done and it is a reasonable approach.