A PETITION calling on Torfaen council to stop using a controversial weed killer linked to causing cancer in a court ruling has prompted the authority to say it will carry out a review.

Nearly 700 people signed the online petition, titled “stop spraying our towns with probable cancer causing glyphosate,” which was handed to the authority at a full council meeting on Tuesday.

Louise Kirby, who handed in the petition, urged the council to reassess its use of a glyphosate-based weed killer in the borough.


“It’s dangerous and we have to stop using it,” she said.

The petition says: “Not only is the product potentially a direct threat to your health and that of your children, family and pets, it is toxic to aquatic life, earth worms and bees.”

Responding to Ms Kirby’s question, Cllr Fiona Cross, executive member for environment, promised the authority would revisit the issue.

Cllr Cross said: “By receiving this petition as executive member, I commit to looking at the issue once more, taking on board the points you have raised.”

Cllr Cross said the council’s cleaner scrutiny committee has previously reviewed the use of the weedkiller, weighing up the pros and cons, adding it was “not an easy decision to make.”

Torfaen is one of several authorities in Wales to use the herbicide glyphosate, which has been approved for continued use by the European Union.

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

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.

A spokesman for Torfaen council said: “Torfaen uses a glyphosate based weed killer to treat pavements and Japanese Knotweed throughout the borough.

“Pavements are sprayed twice yearly, once between April and May and once between August and September.

“Japanese Knotweed is sprayed by Torfaen’s own operators during the months of September, October and November.

“All spraying is done in accordance with Welsh Government and European guidelines.”