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Reducing herbicide use in Greater Manchester?

Manchester Friends of the Earth support the work of Pesticide Action Network UK who are a National Campaigning Charity who are trying to alert Citizens to the harmful nature of Pesticide/ Herbicide and other chemical use in our Towns and Cities.

On the PAN website you can read that :-

In a UK-wide survey (dated 26th April 2018), there were a reported 38 different types of pesticide used in the towns and cities of the UK. The majority of these pesticides are herbicides, some of which are classified as probable or possible carcinogens, but the list also includes fungicides, insecticides and growth regulators. Every day we are exposed to a cocktail of chemicals and nobody knows what impact this consistent low level exposure to a mixture of chemicals is having on us.

Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in the world. A study shows that councils and their contractors used over 61,000 kilograms of this chemical to control weeds in our urban spaces in 2016. It has been classified at a ‘probable human carcinogen’ by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

The effects of pesticides on our health →

Pesticides are also having devastating effects on our environment and urban biodiversity. When used on hard surfaces such as pavements and paths they tend to run off, contaminating water courses and harming aquatic wildlife in the process. Herbicides turn parks into ‘green deserts’ where only grass grows. They kill plants which are relied upon by birds, insects and other wildlife. Many of the pesticides used are also highly persistent meaning that they stay around in the soil long into the future.

Due to habitat loss and the large quantities of pesticides used in UK agriculture, wildlife is increasingly seeking refuge in our towns and cities. However, the overuse of pesticides is destroying many of the areas where they can forage for food and contaminating the natural resources they depend upon. A 2017 study revealed a 76% decline in flying insects since 1990 and pollinators ,such as bees, are particularly struggling.

Glyphosate herbicide is still used by Manchester City Council as part of its weed control measures on streets and other public spaces. Manchester Friends of the Earth and Local Campaigners would like to see the Council implement a comprehensive strategy to act more quickly and boldly to respond to the threat posed by Pesticides and Herbicides. We would like to see an ongoing reduction in the use of harmful pesticides and herbicides, a total ban on the use of Glyphosate, the use of a range of toxic free methods to manage areas where wild plant growth needs some management and a public information campaign to help residents support a vision of the city where wild plants are much more welcome in places not traditionally seen.

Personal action you can take: 

For Manchester residents: 

If you would like your street to opt out of glyphosate spraying and to manage weeds yourself, contact Manchester city council

For Trafford residents: 

A formal process for residents to remove their street from glyphosate spraying is currently being considered by the council. In the meantime, it may help to contact One Trafford to register your request.

In another GM borough?

If you have details on how to ask the council to not use herbicides in your borough please email

If you are looking for alternatives to herbicides and pesticides, see PAN’s helpful A-Z list.

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