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Glyphosate ban thrown out by deputies

Glyphosate ban thrown out by deputies

Friday 18 October 2019

Glyphosate ban thrown out by deputies

Friday 18 October 2019

Guernsey's deputies have blocked plans to ban glyphosate - a potentially harmful chemical used in herbicides including 'Roundup'.

A requête was put forward by seven deputies at yesterday's States meeting, calling for the Committee for Employment and Social Security to ban use of the chemical by March next year.

The group also recommended ESS consider granting licensed approval so professionals could use the product to control noxious weeds.

"How can the Committee for Health and Social Care be non-committal and not demand regulation and licensing for the chemical," one requérant, Deputy David de Lisle asked his fellow States members. "In this day and age we have to be a responsible community and government. The facts are before us. The committee of health is always stating that prevention is the key. We have to be seen to be proactive."

collage_deputies glyphosate

Pictured: A group of seven deputies lodged the requête. 

Deputy de Lisle noted a number of scientific studies, including that of the World Health Organisation which refers to glyphosate at 'possibly carcinogenic'.

"[Glyphosate] is in the water we drink and it's in the food that we eat," he added. "We have to target that particular chemical. To not do so would not be doing right to the people of Guernsey. We have a responsibility to take action."

However, the document did not get the backing it needed from other States members.

"It is important to bear in mind that glyphosate is the most frequently used herbicide worldwide and has been used for several decades," Deputy Lyndon Trott set out in his letter of comment on behalf of the Policy & Resources Committee. "Despite the concerns that have been raised about the health-related issues linked to the use of glyphosate, including the impact of residues on food safety and the environment, glyphosate is a licensed pesticide and is not subject to any international restrictions of trade."

President of P&R, Deputy Gavin St Pier said a ban on the chemical could cause a "threat to the jurisdiction", putting the island's possible relationship with the World Trade Organisation at risk.

Gavin st pier

Pictured: Deputy Gavin St Pier raised concerns over impacts on the island's relationship with the WTO.

"My colleagues don't need to listen to anything anyone has to say," said another requérant, Deputy Lester Queripel, in response. "All they really have to do is look at the evidence themselves to see how lethal it really is. I don't need to be sensationalist or over-emphasise anything. Surely the truth is more than enough.

"We're being told it would damage the island's reputation if we go ahead with this. That doesn't make any sense whatsoever, especially when what is already being allowed to happen is damaging the lives of members of our community and animal life."

After hours of debate, the requête was eventually lost along with an amendment put forward by Deputies David de Lisle and Rob Prow asking for a consultation on the  matter.

"We've heard what's going on in Germany and the EU is making progress on reviewing the use of glyphosate," said Economic Development President, Deputy Charles Parkinson. "It may well be that by the time this matter gets reported back to the States, the decision will have been taken for us.

"While I'm sympathetic to the general cause, that this is a fairly nasty chemical, I'm concerned about the way this has come to the States. I get the sense that it would all end up being a waste of time. That before we got there the stuff would probably have been banned anyway."

The plans were put forward by Deputies De Lisle, Paint, Prow, Gollop, Dudley-Owen, Le Pelley and Lester Queripel.

Pictured top: File image of Roundup herbicide.

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