THE use of a controversial weedkiller linked to causing cancer in a landmark court ruling will be reviewed by Torfaen councillors.

Torfaen is one of 13 authorities in Wales to use the herbicide glyphosate, which was approved for continued use by the European Union last year.

But in August, a United States jury ordered Monsanto to pay a groundskeeper £226 million after finding its product Roundup to be the cause of his terminal cancer.

Following the ruling, the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) asked the Welsh Government for guidance on the future use of glyphosate.

READ MORE: The Gwent councils using 'cancer causing' weedkiller

Roundup is currently deployed in Torfaen using WEEDit precision spraying technology to “minimise” the amount of glyphosate used to eradicate weeds on roads and pavements.

The contract, shared by the council and Bron Afon Community Housing, covers two applications a year and cost £36,000 in 2017.

The weedkiller is also sprayed once a year to control the growth of Japanese knotweed on council land.

Such an approach has seen 90 per cent of knotweed infestations being removed in some parts of the borough.

There are now plans to explore other weed control treatments, with the cleaner overview and scrutiny committee meeting to discuss the alternatives on November 14.

One potential option is using hot water and a biodegradable and “environmentally-friendly” foam which, unlike Roundup, can be used in all weather conditions.

Other options include acetic acid, hand weeding, or “designing out” the need for weed control at the planning stage of developments to minimise cracks on pavements where weeds can grow.

But a report, written by environment officer Andrew Osborne, says: “Alternative control methodologies are not as effective as glyphosate and they are significantly more expensive.

“[There is] no cost-effective alternatives available to treat Japanese knotweed which should continue to be done using our in-house staff.”

Mr Osborne suggests the council would continue to use WEEDit to apply glyphosate in any future contract, with a longer-term agreement preferred.

Any future contract should not last more than four seasons as the EU’s currently glyphosate approval lasts until December 15, 2022.

There could be the option to spray once a year in the areas where weeds are most prevalent, and every two years in areas with less weeds.

But councillors have been warned that a reduction in spraying in some areas could lead to more complaints and “a perception that the council is not maintaining the local environment”.

Mr Osborne said: “We need continue to gather evidence on the safety of glyphosate which could lead to changes in our approach.

“We therefore need to reserve the right to amend or end the contract early in response to any further evidence being obtained or changes in legislation.”