A Brighton community centre has declared itself the city’s first pesticide-free zone.
The Brighthelm Centre on North road has been certified by the Pesticide Action Network UK (PAN UK), which now wants to see many more places throughout Brighton and Hove sign up.
It means the centre will no longer use pesticides to maintain its grounds, instead using natural methods such as ladybirds to control blackfly.
The centre’s garden group volunteer Jan said: “We much prefer to use natural pest control. Just recently we released a number of ladybird larvae into targeted areas of the garden to help control the blackfly population.”
Director Rik Childs said: “There is a growing movement in Europe to stop the use of pesticides in towns and cities and it is time that the UK followed suit. The Brighthelm Centre is delighted to be involved in supporting this campaign”
The designation follows a joint campaign by PAN UK and Brighton Breast Cancer Action (BBCA) to turn Brighton and hove into the UK’s first pesticide-free city.
The campaign calls on Brighton and Hove Council commit to stopping the use of pesticides throughout the city and adopt safer non-chemical methods of dealing with weeds and other issues, as many European towns already do.
Nick Mole’s PAN UK said: “We hope that we will be seeing these signs sprouting up all over Brighton & Hove as together we move towards ridding the city of toxic pesticides.”
Grazia De Michele of BBCA said: “A growing body of epidemiological studies link pesticides to breast cancer. The recent publication of the results of a study conducted in California and demonstrating that women exposed to DDT in utero had fourfold increased risk of developing breast cancer later in life is alarming.
“We must act now to protect our children’s health. Stopping the use of pesticides in the city is a step toward that goal.” said
The most widely used pesticide in Brighton and Hove is the weed killer glyphosate which has recently been classified by the World Health Organisation as a probable human carcinogen.
Its use has also been linked with many other ill health effects including ADHD, autism and birth defects. Glyphosate is used on the streets and pavements and in or parks and playgrounds as well as in schools and hospital grounds.
PAN UK and BBCA would like to hear from any individuals or groups interested in working with us to turn Brighton and Hove pesticide free. If you would like to support our campaign you can sign our petition at http://www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/pesticide-free-brighton.