ALL four major parties have committed to a total ban on pesticides if they are voted in on May 2.

Candidates for the Conservatives, Lib Dems, Greens and Labour all announced they would ban the use of the substance in Brighton and Hove if they are successful in the city council elections next week.

After a campaign launched by Pesticide Action Network UK (PAN UK) saw 71 candidates make the pesticide-free pledge, the parties announced their position at a hustings organised by the environmental group.

Josie Cohen, head of policy for PAN UK, said it was “fantastic” the four major parties all agreed on a pesticide ban.

She said: “Brighton and Hove has a reputation as one of the greenest cities in the UK, but is lagging behind when it comes to protecting residents and wildlife from harmful chemicals.

“Most people don’t realise that Brighton and Hove Council spray toxic pesticides in public spaces. We’re surrounded by these chemicals every day despite evidence of the significant harm they can cause to our health and the environment.

“The real scandal is that urban pesticide use is unnecessary. There are lots of safe and sustainable non-chemical alternatives available which have been proven to work.

“PAN UK is ready to work with the council after the election to find the best non-chemical alternatives for our city.”

According to the group, at least 38 different chemicals are being used in UK towns and cities. They have been linked to an array of health problems including cancer, asthma and birth defects.

In a high-profile case in America last year one man was awarded more than 200 million dollars after claiming he developed cancer after using the popular Roundup weedkiller.

Conservative councillor Lee Wares said he supported a ban and claimed he would set up a sustainability commission if the Tories are elected in May.

He said: “Having agreed we have an emergency to deal with, we are keen to work with everybody to find and implement solutions creating the opportunity and ability for everybody to do their bit.

“No one individual or party has all the answers and there are many talented and knowledgeable individuals and organisations in the city that can help the council deliver a more sustainable future.”

Council leader Daniel Yates, of Labour, said: “Protecting our ecosystems and environment isn’t simply just about removing rubbish and enhancing landscape – it is also about ensuring our green spaces and public places are maintained in a sustainable manner.”

A Green Party spokeswoman added: “ We would welcome the invitation by Pesticide Action Network to work together.”