Roundup use on Hoylake beach

Mark Howard made this Freedom of Information request to Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council,

Please could you send me information related to any risk assessment research undertaken by Wirral Council into the use of Roundup weedkiller on Hoylake beach. Please could you also indicate the volume of the substance used per square metre.

Yours faithfully,

Mark Howard

InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

1 Attachment

Good Afternoon

 

Thank you for your request below, Wirral Council’s Technical Services
department can provide the attached information in response to your query.

 

Please find attached, information requested, provided to your same request
received 25.07.2012.

 

I hope you find this information of use, thank you for your enquiry.

 

Kind regards

 

Tracy O'Hare

Information Management

Wirral Council

 

This information supplied to you is copyrighted and continues to be
protected by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.   You are free
to use it for your own purposes, including any non commercial research you
are doing and for the purposes of news reporting. Any other reuse, for
example commercial publication, would require our specific permission, may
involve licensing and the application of a charge

 

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Dear InfoMgr, FinDMT,

Thank you for the response. I must confess to some considerable alarm that the 'Risk Assessment' appears to rely for a large part on product claims by Monsanto, manufacturers of Roundup, a company with something of a track record of exaggerated product claims according to various international courts.

Basic online research shows that the EU classifies Roundup as "R51/53 Toxic to aquatic organisms, may cause long-term adverse effects in the aquatic environment." This classification is acknowledged by the UK's HSA.

That said I acknowledge that Local Authorities around the UK use the product extensively in public spaces despite its classification and that no proven adverse effects appear to have been reported.

Tests on Roundup (largely in other countries) have concluded that:
• Laboratory studies have shown teratogenic effects of Roundup in animals; Glyphosate has caused birth defects in laboratory animal tests.
• A 1998 study on mice concluded that Roundup is able to cause genetic damage.
• A 2000 review concluded that there were risks to aquatic organisms exposed to Roundup in shallow water.
• Fish and aquatic invertebrates are more sensitive to Roundup than terrestrial organisms.
• Even at concentrations one-third of the maximum concentrations expected in nature, Roundup still killed up to 71 percent of tadpoles raised in outdoor tanks.
• Campaigners brought a case in France in 2001 for presenting Roundup as biodegradable and claiming that it left the soil clean after use; in January 2007, Monsanto was convicted of false advertising.

I acknowledge that in the UK Roundup is widely used both in public spaces and in private gardens. It has become so ubiquitous that, perhaps, the risks associated with it are 'ignored'; there appears to be no evidence of it causing harm in the environment, only under laboratory conditions. Glyphosate on its own produces different results to those gathered from glyphosate when combined with other ingredients in Roundup.

I for one am uneasy about the use of any chemicals such as this on the beach, in volumes much larger than those on, say public parks. I am concerned by the findings above; not least its classification by the EU seems to contradict that claimed by the company and accepted by Wirral Council without apparent further research.

Are there any further reassurances you can give me to justify the use of chemicals on the beach?

Yours sincerely,

Mark Howard

InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

1 Attachment

Good Afternoon
Thank you for your further enquiry below. Please see our text also
below as a response and I trust you find the information of use.
Kind regards
Sent on behalf of
Tracy O'Hare
FOI Co-ordinator
Wirral Council
CH41 6BU

This information supplied to you is copyrighted and continues to be
protected by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. You are free
to use it for your own purposes, including any non commercial research
you are doing and for the purposes of news reporting. Any other reuse,
for example commercial publication, would require our specific
permission, may involve licensing and the application of a charge

The recommended management of Spartina by spraying at Hoylake is based
on trials of hand digging, past use of rotoburying and mechanical
excavation.

Further Officer recommendations are by spraying by boom spray as it
covers a wider area more accurately than hand spraying, although a test
area has been sprayed with a knapsack sprayer at Hoylake as a comparison
site.

References used included a report by A Jemmett prepared for Wirral
Council in 2003, English Nature's Report on Spartina anglica (Report No
527), http://publications.naturalengland.org.u...

The Herbicide Handbook (English Nature) is attached to this email

and the Pesticides Code of Practice published by DEFRA in 2006
http://www.pesticides.gov.uk/guidance/in...
-pesticides/codes-of-practice/code-of-practice-for-using-plant-protectio
n-products

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Dear InfoMgr, FinDMT,

Thank you very much for the additional information which I will read with interest.

My question about the classification of Roundup appears to remain unanswered; I hope the following is helpful in this regard.

I understand that the EU classification of the product as "R51/53 Toxic to aquatic organisms, may cause long-term adverse effects in the aquatic environment" is a recent amendment to the product classification, coming into effect only in April 2012; some time after the Council's Risk Assessment was undertaken.

My concern really is this clear contradiction between this rather alarming classification and the manufacturers' own product claim, cited in the Risk Assessment by Wirral Council, that it "is non-residual and does not harm animals, birds, fish, insects and other wildlife".

Could it be that the Monsanto statement quoted is actually out of date, and if so, is there a need for a further risk assessment before further spraying is undertaken?

Yours sincerely,

Mark Howard

InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Good Morning,
Thank you for your email below, I am sorry you feel your question has
been unanswered. The FoI regime exists to provide recorded information
that the public body holds and this is what we have supplied to you.

Perhaps it would suit your particular enquiry to contact the Park Ranger
section of the Council directly and either talk to or email them with
your concerns. This could provide the basis for a discussion rather
than the supply of recorded data?

I can provide recorded information to you only through this avenue and
you may be better suited to contact us at
http://www.wirral.gov.uk/my-services/lei...
nd-countryside/coast/coastal-rangers

I hope this assist you
Kind Regards
Jane Corrin

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Dear InfoMgr, FinDMT,

Thank you very much. The information you sent was indeed very helpful.

I think a conversation about the issues would be very welcome and I will follow up on this asap.

Yours sincerely,

Mark Howard