Council could reverse ban on using ‘carcinogenic’ weed killer to tackle Japanese knotweed

LYME Regis Town Council may have to return to using ‘probable carcinogen’ glyphosate to tackle the increasing issue of Japanese knotweed around the town.

The issue was discussed at the first meeting of council’s newly-formed Environment Committee on Wednesday evening. Japanese knotweed is an invasive, non-native species which must be controlled under UK law.

Lyme Regis was named as the Japanese knotweed ‘hotspot’ of Dorset in May, with 29 infestations recorded within a 4km radius of the town.

This includes infestations on town council land, including in Langmoor and Lister Gardens, which could cost as much as £10,000 to have removed by professional contractors.

Alternatively, the council’s own gardening staff could tackle the infestations using an injection kit and the weed killer glyphosate, commonly known as Roundup, for around £500.

The town council banned the use of glyphosate on its land in 2019, after several concerns were raised about it being carcinogenic and harmful to wildlife.

In March 2015 the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer produced a report which increased glyphosate’s rating from a ‘possible carcinogen’ to a ‘probable carcinogen’.

It gave the same rating to eating pork, lamb or beef, or drinking coffee. The product remained licensed in the EU, although this provoked much debate with some countries considering banning it.

In 2017 the EU re-licensed glyphosate for another five years, as the scientific evidence was not compelling enough to ban it.

The town council’s operations manager Matt Adamson Drage has been asked to carry out further research into any alternative products which could be used to tackle Japanese knotweed before any decision is made.

Council considers cycle lanes and bicycle racks

THE formation of the new Environment Committee follows the council’s decision two years ago to declare a climate emergency and commit itself to tackling environmental issues with the aim of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.

Cllr Belinda Bawden has been elected chairman and the position of vice-chairman remains vacant as no one was nominated.

Several committee members were absent so this position will be filled at the next meeting.

Among other matters discussed at the meeting was the possibility of creating cycle lanes and installing bicycle racks in the town.

Members noted that the roads around Lyme Regis are generally narrow and extremely busy in peak season, so the introduction of cycle lanes may not be feasible in many areas due to lack of highway space, but officers could investigate the possibilities of their introduction with Dorset Council highways.

One suggestion from a local resident was that Uplyme and Lyme Regis could be linked with a cycle path along the River Lim – from Windsor Terrace, via Bumpy field and Mill Lane.

However, achieving this would require significant ground works and cost in some areas to make it easily navigable by bicycle, and would require collaboration across the county boundary with the principal authorities, Uplyme Parish Council and landowners.

A suggestion that bicycle racks could be installed at the entrance of Langmoor Gardens was deemed unsuitable as the council did not want to encourage cycling in the gardens.

However, the town council will work with Dorset Council to consider alternative sites.

Woodmead Halls

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