For many years pesticides have been considered a useful tool in the range of equipment used for managing the natural landscape to suit the needs of humanity – whether that be growing food or creating acceptable looking living environments. Rachel Carson’s seminal book Silent Spring was a gamechanger when she showed the downside of dowsing our landscape with chemicals. For the last 50 years or so there has been a constant battle between the legislators banning various chemicals as their side effects became obvious and the agri-chemical companies introducing new and more sophisticated chemicals.
At the HVCA meeting this week we heard from Nick Mole of Pesticide Action Network who talked about how councils and public landowners and managers can do without chemicals altogether. Methods range from “do nothing” and just learn to live with a wilder landscape to some quite clever technologies like flame brushing and stem injection. The High Peak and Derbyshire Dales Councils have both committed to eliminating to eliminating glyphosate – the most common weedkiller – from their land but there we still need Derbyshire County Council to follow suit.
Nick’s presentation outlined the approach councils need to take but one thing was clear – they will only take the issue seriously if we do. Do write to your councillors, the DCC Transport and Roads Department and the Countryside Department when you see weedkillers being used but also write and tell them how great it is to see wildflowers flourishing on roadside verges.
Nick’s slides are available for download. Download here