WORKERS will weed suburban streets by hand next summer as Brighton and Hove City Council looks to phase out glyphosate weedkiller.

A team spent six weeks this year weeding streets by hand as the council had been unable to find no effective alternative to the herbicide, known commercially as Roundup.

The council’s assistant director for the city environment Rachel Chasseaud told members of the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee, how the council was phasing out the weedkiller.

The committee was told that The Level had been completely glyphosate-free for three years.

And the restrictions on glyphosate – for use on Japanese knotweed and tree stumps only – would be extended to include contractors as well as council workers.

The move was welcomed by members.

Green councillor Pete West said that the concern about glyphosate was not a cut and dried matter as the impact of chemicals on long-term health were inconclusive.

He said: “It is a grey area so there is all the more reason why we should be taking a precautionary approach to its use.

“We need to take the cautious approach to pesticides which is something the Greens have been calling for for many, many years.”

Councillor West said that it was important for the council to say that it was not poisoning the public.

Conservative councillor Vanessa Brown asked about strategies for dealing with weeds next year as she said that leaves were currently accumulating, causing a trip hazard.

She said: “It is a difficult problem as residents like the idea of having a pesticide-free city but don’t like to see the weeds on pavements.

“It is bad on the outlying areas where there is the least footfall.”

Rachel Chasseaud said that the six weeks of work helped the team to work out which parts of Brighton and Hove needed little or no weeding and where more effort was required.

She said: “Next year we will use the information through the weeding period to plan what routes to take and it will be much better.

“We will focus on outlying areas early on and expect everyone to see an improvement next year.”

Fellow Conservative councillor Lee Wares said that the environmental team should work with highways as weeds were coming through the pavements, in the roads and along the gutters and damaging surfaces.

Labour councillor Theresa Fowler backed the move and told the committee how her father’s hive of bees was wiped out after pesticides were sprayed on nearby fields.

She said: “I enjoy looking at the weeds and flowers that pop up. It’s changing people’s opinions of weeds.

“They are wild flowers encouraging insects and butterflies.”

The committee unanimously agreed for the environmental management department to stop using glyphosate, to stop using contractors who use it and to work with other council departments to end its use.

A report on the progress, including phasing out all pesticides by 2022, will go before the committee in the autumn next year.