A CAMPAIGN group has taken the first steps towards making Brighton and Hove the country’s first pesticide free city.

The Pesticide Action Network UK (PAN UK) has teamed up with Brighton Breast Cancer Action (BBCA) to declare the city’s first pesticide free zone at the Brighthelm Centre in North Road.

Nick Mole, of PAN UK, said: “This is very exciting for us to be able to announce the first pesticide free zone in Brighton.

“We hope we will see these signs sprouting all over Brighton and Hove as we move towards ridding the city of toxic pesticides.”

The campaigners call on Brighton and Hove City Council to stop its use of pesticides in the city and to adopt non-chemical methods for dealing with weeds.

The Brighthelm Centre uses no pesticides in its grounds and its gardening team does not use any in the garden, which is full of bee friendly plants.

Instead the team support the ecosystem with natural methods of pest control including ladybird larvae to control blackflies.

Rik Childs, centre director, 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 campaign group say the most widely used pesticide in the city is the weed killer glyphosate which the World Health Organisation has linked to cancer.

Grazia De Michele of BBCA said: “We must act now to protect our children’s health. Stopping the use of pesticides in the city is a step towards that goal.”

PAN UK and BBCA want to hear from anyone interested in working with them for a pesticide free city. To sign their petition visit www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/pesticide-free-brighton.