No States’ Committees will support an attempt by several individual deputies to outright ban the use of glyphosate in the island.
Guernsey’s Health & Safety Executive decided to ban the herbicide for domestic use from October 31 2022 due to fears it was being used excessively used by amateurs and contaminating streams across the island, entering the water supply.
It allowed for accredited professional use to continue since the areas of high readings did not correlate to where, for example gardeners, were recorded as spraying the chemical.
Deputy David de Lisle is now leading to charge to have all existing approvals of products containing the agrochemical glyphosate to be revoked by the end of 2023, outlawing the use, import and sale to professional users.
But after considering requested responses from seven States’ Committees, the non-conflicted members of Policy & Resources unanimously recommended that the attempt is not supported when debated in the States Assembly.
Deputies Mark Helyar and David Mahoney are signatories of the Requête and therefore recused themselves from meetings where it was discussed within Policy & Resources.
You can read the all the correspondence HERE.
Pictured: The States are due to debate an outright ban next week.
The strongest letter of opposition came from Environment & Infrastructure. President Lindsay de Sausmarez said work is ongoing to phase out harmful chemicals but claimed an outright ban could have the unintended consequence of increasing the use of other, more harmful alternatives in the short term.
She argued this would be more damaging to the environment and public health and reducing glyphosate should be done in a balanced and proportionate manner to also prevent further financial hardship to the struggling agricultural industry.
Deputy de Sausmarez also said it is one of the only proven tools to control noninvasive species such as Japanese Knotweed which damages the island’s biodiversity.
Employment & Social Security agreed with many of those points and maintained that the continuing use of the chemical by professionals is proportionate and should remain until further evidence or alternatives are produced that support an outright ban.
Deputy Neil Inder said his committee, Economic Development, were concerned that businesses and professional users had not been consulted on the hypothetical ban and feared the direct implications to operating it would cause them.
He also suggested that an outright ban could compromise the Bailiwick’s complicity with international trade agreements, and further legal advice should be sought.
Pictured: The STSB advised that glyphosate is the only effective chemical for managing habitats at airfields to reduce the risk of bird strikes on takeoff and landing.
Health & Social Care President Al Brouard said a full appraisal of alternatives would be required to provide assurances that they would prove less harmful to people and the environment.
The outcomes of a European Food Standards Agency Review are also awaited in July 2023 which would inform a final position on the issue.
An official for Home Affairs explained that risk assessments and checks focusing on smuggling would need to be expanded if the ban was extended to professional users.
The States Trading Supervisory Board, led by Deputy Peter Roffey, argued that the effects of the ban on amateur should be fully understood before extending restrictions.
He also said Guernsey Water is not concerned with levels of glyphosate present in drinking water, but other products could have a riskier effect.
Habitat control at the airport is also best managed by the chemical to help reduce the risk of bird versus aircraft strikes.
Policy & Resources feared that a ban could result in a legal challenge from the manufacturer, and the ban would not apply in Aldernery or Sark, further complication importation restrictions.
Deputy Ferbrache said it also was concerned that a ban would damage the island’s international reputation, and that harm may outweigh any perceived benefits.
The Requête is scheduled to be debated after the Tax Review policy letter, although it is likely that debate will be lengthy and push this matter into February’s States meeting.
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