PeCAN trustees have responded with alarm to the news that, despite protestations from Petersfield's residents last summer, Hampshire County Council (HCC) has ordered the chemical spraying of pavement plants with glyphosate, a herbicide known to be dangerous to humans and pets. PeCAN understands this work is due to start in June.

In a letter to HCC Councillors Robert Mocatta and Russell Oppenheimer and to council leader Rob Humby, PeCAN Trustee Liz Bissett wrote:


I was very disappointed to learn that HCC Highways will be spraying in Petersfield at the beginning of June.

As Petersfield has made special efforts to become a pesticide-free town, I had hoped that HCC would respect this and adopt other methods for weed clearance. I understand that some alternatives, such as hot foam treatment, have been tested.

There is now plenty of scientific evidence that glyphosate is harmful to humans, pets and wildlife. Will there be warnings to the residents of Petersfield about the spraying? I for one would not like my grandchildren to play in areas that have recently been sprayed and my friends would not like their pets to be exposed to glyphosate, either.

I find it hard to see how HCC on the one hand is promoting its Parish Pollinator Scheme whilst on the other it is spraying roadsides and verges with the very stuff that has been proven to damage bees. With biodiversity in such dire straits, we look to our councils to take a lead in doing all they can to restore and increase numbers of our native wild plants and animals. Spraying just puts pressure on our already dangerously damaged ecosystems.

I understand that road gutters and pavement edges should be kept clear of vegetation but regular road sweeping and manual clearing can solve these problems. Sprayed plant material dies in situ and still needs to be swept up to prevent it being a trip hazard.

I have cleared the road gutter in my street of all plant life and tidied up my garden edges that border the pavement around my house, not for the sake of tidiness, but to reduce the need for spraying - and I shall be encouraging my neighbours and friends to do the same. I shall also be erecting a sign requesting that no spraying takes place near my property: I hope that such signs will be heeded.


PeCAN is encouraging local people to complain about the use of herbicides and pesticides and to call for simple mechanical methods to be found for weed control on the streets of Petersfield. Please feel free to use the above letter as a template for your email, and find a poster to download and print here or click on the images below. You can find your councillor's contact details here.

Find out more about glyphosate here.