KILDARE Co Council agreed to reduce the use of glyphosates in public areas on a phased basis.
Cllr Íde Cussen asked for an all out ban of the herbicide when county councillors gathered for their March meeting.
They were told by senior parks superintendent Simon that herbicides are used to control weed growth in grass maintenance and in planting areas, mainly on roundabouts.
“Grass areas are sprayed three times from March to October and spot treatment of roundabouts is done monthly,” said Mr Wallace.
The current annual cost of this is €12,000 approximately.
Cllr Cussen asked about a pilot study to ban glyphosates in Newbridge and was told this had never happened as it was not possible to source machinery last summer to carry out weed control using hot water or hot foam which are the two main alternative methods to herbicide currently available. The mebers were told that the Parks Department in Dun Laoighre Rathdown County Council carried out a similar trial in 2017 using hot water and hot foam to control weeds on planted and paved areas.
“The conclusions from that were that the hot foam offered more effective control of weeds than hot water. The control using hot foam lasted 3-4 weeks. Both methods were labour intensive and required more frequent treatment and were therefore more expensive than herbicide control,” said Mr Wallace.
The use of either method involved the purchase of a specialist machine cost of €40K and purchase of material in the case of foam.
“Banning the use of glyphosate will increase the cost of grass cutting in Kildare. The annual total cost of this is €250,000 which accounts for close to half of the annual Parks Improvements revenue budget,” he added.
“There is no scope within existing staff or financial resources for this cost to increase.”
Director of Services Sonya Kavanagh said there is no reluctance or unwillingness from the council to take this ban on but they would need to have a budget in place.
“We just can’t impose an immediate ban in the current budget,” she said.
Cllr Cussen called for a vote on the motion but members agreed an outright ban couldn’t be voted on without having a budget in place.
It was agreed to amend Cllr Cussen’s motion to reduce glyphosates subject to budget 2020.-