FOI Request - Pesticides
I am writing to you under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to request the following information.
1. Does the council use any pesticides to maintain green areas? If it used to, but has now stopped, when did it stop using them?
2. Please provide the following information on amenity pesticide usage, if the council uses pesticides, or used to in the past 5 years.
a. Does the council use Glyphosate?
b. Annual quantities of Glyphosate used over the past 5 years. Please provide the quantities for each year separately and include the total amount used both by the council internally and externally through contractors.
c. Where is Glyphosate used, i.e., parks, play areas, highway verges and roads, pavements, tree bases, estate-based green spaces, etc.
3. How much has the council spent on purchasing and spraying amenity pesticides over the past 5 years? Please include staff costs of people employed to undertake this (either contractors or council staff).
4. If the council has stopped using pesticides, how much has been spent on maintaining green spaces over the last five years, and what method is used (i.e., no control, manual weeding, mowing and hand pulling, propane/flame gun, etc.) Please include staff costs of people employed to undertake this (either contractors or council staff).
5. If the council has stopped spraying, has it had any complaints for not well-maintained green spaces (i.e., invasive and pernicious weeds) in the past 5 years and how many? Please provide the number of complaints for each year separately.
Please provide the above in a CSV format.
6. Has the council made any pledge to reduce or stop the usage of pesticides and if so, what strategies does the council have in place to reduce/stop the use of these pesticides? Please provide details on the action plan including dates and costings where possible.
2b. No data held for last 5 years. Information that is not held falls under Section 17 of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 - Information not held.
We are now collating this information annually.
2c. Parks and open spaces, including cemeteries and highway streets/pavements (not verges) and control of non-native invasive plant species. Please refer to the response at Q6.
3. Not held - Data has not been recorded in this way, but estimated costs are provided within report – refer to response at Q6. Information that is not held falls under Section 17 of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 - Information not held.
4. The Council has not stopped using pesticides but has reduced its use of glyphosate in some settings – refer to response at Question 6.
6. On 7 February 2023, the Council’s Economic Development and Infrastructure Services Committee agreed to reduce the use of glyphosate based weedkillers used in open spaces and to accept and tolerate a greater presence of weeds and longer vegetation in the environment. The report can be accessed at this link: https://moray.cmis.uk.com/moray/CouncilandGovernance/Meetings/tabid/70/ctl/ViewMeetingPublic/mid/397/Meeting/1924/Committee/9/SelectedTab/Documents/Default.aspx.
This information is therefore exempt under section 25 of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002, information otherwise accessible.
This means we are reducing our use of herbicides to control weeds / vegetation around tree bases and obstacles in areas where grass is cut, e.g. around drain covers, signs, and benches. Instead we will strim these areas on a limited number of occasions during the growing season. We are also reducing the use of herbicide around grass plots and limit the use of herbicides to mostly where grass cutting equipment cannot access. We will continue to carry out strimming to manage weeds and longer vegetation, however, resources for strimming are limited and may only be carried out on a limited number of occasions during the growing season usually at every second or third visit of mowing. Highway weed control is carried out twice per year to treat weeds present at time of treatment.