Cutting out toxic pesticides

I have vowed to end the use of pesticides on land controlled by the Mayor and work to make all of London pesticide-free.

London should be the greenest city in the world, and that means cutting out chemical poisons which do so much harm to our natural world.

Our manifesto pledges an immediate stop to the use of chemical pesticides and herbicides, including controversial weedkiller glyphosate, from use on GLA-controlled land.

In addition, I will work to increase the number of councils adopting the same policy for public spaces, footpaths and estates, and to remove these chemicals from garden centres and retailers in the city. 

This will be combined with a focused education, equipment and skill-sharing programme for borough councils, housing associations and domestic gardeners on effective alternatives, including approaches that manage spaces to be less tended in order to reduce the need for plant management of any kind. 

As Green Mayor I will set a target to stop spraying this poison around the places where we live, and where nature needs to thrive completely within two years. 

There will be zero glyphosate use across London within two years, except in highly controlled and targeted ways, such as by topical application or injection against invasive species such as Japanese Knotweed.

This pledge follows years of action against pesticides from Greens on the London Assembly.

In 2019, Caroline Russell AM proposed a motion to the London Assembly which resolved to bring forward an action plan and timetable for a major reduction in the use of glyphosate on GLA land and the Transport for London estate, and to call on all councils to do the same. The motion was passed unanimously.

In 2020, Caroline Russell twice asked the current Mayor for an update on how the recommendations of the Assembly were being implemented, but he has still not given a date by which the use of glyphosate would be ended.

Many councils across London and the wider country are recognising the harmful impacts of glyphosate, and cutting back or banning the use of the pesticide. Recently, Hackney Council announced that over 200 green spaces across its council estates would be going glyphosate-free in 2021, combined with a commitment to plant more wildflower meadows.

Glyphosate carries risks to health as well as having an impact on nature, yet too many councils are still using it on pavements, school playgrounds and around the housing estates and parks where children and pets play.

It’s wrong and dangerous for this to be sprayed up and down our roads in London, putting everyone at risk while wrecking wildlife.

We can take direct action to eliminate its use on the land and streets we control from City Hall, and I will bring together councils to share knowledge about less toxic ways to remove problem plants, as well as cut down on the need for weed control through nature-friendly planting and management of our streets and green spaces.