National Trust, please stop spraying Glyphosate

Guest blog by Nicky Watts

Last time we visited a National Trust property, I witnessed the spraying of herbicides on paths in the gardens.

I was so shocked and disappointed, I wrote to National Trust central enquiries (enquiries@nationaltrust.org.uk) about my concern.  I learn that the National Trust has no central policy to ban the use of glyphosate and was referred to the head gardener of the property I had visited.

He affirmed that they do use Glyphosate sparingly.  His answer disturbed me.  He stated that although Glyphosate has a bad reputation, ‘it is in fact classified as non-hazardous and bio-degrades readily once in contact with the soil’

Information from this guide by Graham Wroe states otherwise.  It was given to councillors in Sheffield prior to a vote concerning the use of glyphosate in public areas. In the light of the information this guide is based on, many countries and local authorities in the UK have banned or restricted Glyphosate.

Glyphosate is in fact, water-soluble and has had significant effects on species that underpin the entire aquatic food chain. It upsets the balance of microbial communities in soil increasing the numbers of some micro-organisms and decreasing others, impacting soil fertility. It also binds micro-nutrients in the soil causing deficiencies in plants.

 Not only has Glyphosate been found to have adverse effects on earthworms, beneficial insects and bees. Studies have found that glyphosate-based herbicides have worked their way into our food chain, and can interfere with various organs and biochemical pathways and appears to accumulate in human cells. Testing has revealed that glyphosate is present in people’s urine in Europe and in and breast milk in the USA.  At low concentrations, it damages liver, kidney and skin cells and long term effects include cancer, infertility, pregnancy problems, birth defects and respiratory diseases.

Glyphosate can be replaced by safer methods.

The National Trust is an organisation with a reputation to promote the conservation of wildlife. Your cause, according to your website, is to protect our environment, “From ancient trees to bees and butterflies… We’re working hard to safeguard nature for years to come.”

The organisation does so much to encourage wildlife with wildflower meadows, it is shocking to find that it allows the use of known poisons on its property.   

Isn’t it time for the National Trust to develop a unilateral policy banning the use of Glyphosate?

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