Glyphosate is going, going, gone.
The Pollinator Project is truly delighted that weed killers containing glyphosate are being phased out in 2022 and will be banned from general use in Guernsey from the start of 2023.
This is such a great first step towards going fully pesticide-free and is a necessary step to protect our fragile wildlife and our sources of locally grown food. Lots of other UK councils have done this as well as whole nations like France and Luxembourg so we’re very glad Guernsey has reacted like this to the latest news on contamination of water courses.
So what do I need to know?
Under the Poisonous Substances (Guernsey) Law, the States of Guernsey’s Health & Safety Executive (HSE) is introducing a restriction preventing these 152 products being sold, stored or used.
From 31 October you won’t be able to buy glyphosate in Guernsey (or online for shipping to Guernsey).
From 1 Jan 2023 you will not be able to use or store products containing glyphosate.
We encourage you to dispose of your products at Longue Hougue recycling centre.
Professional pesticide users are encouraged by the States of Guernsey to limit their use and explore alternative control methods. Professional use of glyphosate can only be done by those holding an NPTC certificate of competence.
Why is this happening?
Earlier this year Guernsey Water appealed to Islanders not to use glyphosate products after they saw multiple high readings of glyphosate in water courses, which the States says are increasingly linked to domestic use of glyphosate. Many people including the Pollinator Project are also concerned with the impact of glyphosate products on the Island’s biodiversity.
Robin Gonard, Chief Health & Safety Officer, said: “We do believe it will help improve water quality and protect our biodiversity.”
What’s the next step in going Pesticide Free?
We also think there is a need for greater transparency of what volume and frequency of glyphosate products are sold to professionals – and where these are used. We’d also like to see a register of professionally qualified people firmed up so that it is refreshed annually with up-to-date controls of incoming and outgoing contractors too.
Aside from glyphosate, there are many more products sold and used that harm the environment for the sake of looks. So our aim is to work with government, corporates and land owners to be the first island in Britain to be pesticide-free. We do have a caveat for regulated uses by licensed professionals such as on Japanese knotweed or Asian Hornets but there is little to no need for the other pesticides like chemical insecticides and synthetic slug pellets when there are natural methods available. We are asking people to stop using all pesticides.
So what do I use instead? What are the alternatives?
We would not recommend using most of the branded ‘glyphosate-free’ weedkilling products like Roundup that are on sale in some garden centres as you may just be replacing one problem with another. They often contain synthetic manmade chemicals – which are not naturally in the environment. There’s no requirement for all the ingredients to be listed. There’s very little practical experience of what they do to the environment, and some appear to be not much more than a bottle of chemicals with a marketing label on. And more scientifically-speaking, research by University College Dublin has shown that these new ‘co-formulants” also harm bees. Organic liquids like a mix of white vinegar with a bit of salt work well on grass and broadleaved plants – as does a hoe, a rake, or the new weed burners too.
Or best of all leaving plants to flower and appreciating their beauty and their role in a healthy ecosystem.