Pesticide Free Kingsbridge
Pesticides - like widely available Roundup - are commonly used to kill weeds in gardens, driveways and pavements.
These chemicals impact nearly all life on earth.
We can take action in Kingsbridge, as residents and together with our Local Authority and local businesses, to reduce the harm they cause. We will use the campaign resources and excellent support provided by the Pesticide Action Network.
Our campaign will focus on reducing pesticides within our gardens and public spaces.
What's the Problem?
Pesticides are designed to kill pests – including plants, insects, fungi and rodents. A wide range of different pesticides (including insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and rodenticides) are used in our towns and cities. Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in the world. In most UK towns and cities it is currently impossible to avoid exposure to pesticides like glyphosate. Spraying pesticides harms:
By spraying toxic chemicals to remove wildflowers we may directly poison pollinating insects themselves, as well as removing vital food sources for them. A loss of insects has an impact on the animals that feed upon them like birds, and small mammals such as hedgehogs.
Chemicals are washed into our streams and estuary during rain, negatively impacting water quality and endangering aquatic life.
We are exposed through skin contact, inhalation, or ingestion. This can cause numerous health problems, including respiratory issues, neurological disorders, and reproductive harm. Glyphosate has been classified as a ‘probable human carcinogen’ by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)
Source: Pesticide Action Network and Pollenize CIC
What are the solutions?
As a group we can:
Advocate for alternative methods for controlling weeds,
Hold a pesticides amnesty event to dispose of no longer needed chemicals safely,
Gather volunteers to undertake hand weeding at street and neighbourhood level,
Raise awareness of the dangers of pesticides for both nature and humans,
Encourage individuals to go pesticide-free in their gardens,
Normalise the "hero plants" in our town, which often have huge benefits for biodiversity.
A growing number of places around the world have already gone pesticide-free and are proving that it can be done.
By working together with our Local Authority and residents we can eliminate their use from our gardens and public spaces. Check out this inspiring example from the Exeter Green Space Team. Residents are able to opt out of chemical spraying on the roads if they agree to maintain the areas by hand weeding. The Council received 30 opt out requests from residents for the first time it was offered!
There are a range of different approaches available to councils and other land managers that decide to stop using pesticides.
These include things like hot steam systems, acetic acid dilution sprays, electronic control systems, hot water pressure spraying and hand weeding.
The effectiveness of each method will vary greatly depending on the local context and environment and, in most cases, a suite of different approaches will be required to replace pesticides.
South Hams District Council have included an action point on pesticides in their Climate Change and Biodiversity Action Plan, stating that it "engages with members of the public and farmers to look at alternatives to using herbicides and pesticides (in particular glyphosate)." We can work together to reduce harm from pesticides within our own town of Kingsbridge.
Together we can change the narrative around the need to spray and advocate for the value of "weeds" to our ecosystems.
A conversation between Dr Amanda Tuke (urban botanist and contributing author), Brigit Strawbridge Howard (naturalist and author of ‘Dancing with Bees’) and Sarah Cooke (Associate Landscape Architect, Groundwork)
Join our first meeting to find out what we can do to eliminate harm from pesticides in Kingsbridge and how we might take our first steps. Help us shape the campaign and share your ideas.
Tuesday 31st October,
10.30am to 12pm
Please get in touch if you have any questions firstname.lastname@example.org