OUR PETITION TO CAMBRIDGE CITY COUNCIL
We believe that the Covid-19 physical shutdown has offered opportunities to enact and expand upon the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, particularly those that focus on chemical use and waste as major contributors to air pollution, loss of biodiversity and poor public health. We are taking action through a recently-launched petition which we'd be grateful if you could sign and share.
We believe that in order to extend the benefits of the shutdown to improve the sustainability of the city in this regard Cambridge City Council should:
1. STOP SPRAYING ROADS, VERGES AND PAVEMENTS
Take immediate steps to extend its recent cessation of glyphosate-based herbicide use in parks, open spaces and children’s playgrounds to its roads, verges, and pavements that it manages on behalf of the County Council. They should if necessary amend the terms of that contract so as to allow for the phasing out of the use of herbicides, and work together with PAN-UK's Pesticide-Free Towns and its local representatives here at Pesticide-Free Cambridge, to explore and enact alternatives that may include mechanical or non-synthetic chemical solutions, as well as simply allowing wild grasses and flowers to grow in verges (following the example of cities such as Zurich). They should also draw as necessary on the strategies applied by other councils across the country (particularly for example the nearby Uttlesford Council) in this regard.
2. BAN PRIVATE PESTICIDE USE ON PUBLIC LAND
Take immediate steps to ban private and business use of synthetic pesticides (including both herbicides and insecticides) directly on public land (e.g., in cases where pesticides are applied around the perimeter of a property that abuts a public pavement or road; or were pesticides are used by members of the public on Council-owned allotments) in ways that impact on public land through the mechanism of ‘drift’ (e.g., where pesticides are used on private land without regard to weather conditions or the possibility of drift of such chemicals into neighbouring properties or onto adjoining roads or pavements and by extension, pedestrians).
3. MINIMISE PESTICIDE USE IN PUBLIC BUILDINGS
Draw on expertise to encourage healthy indoor built environments across the city’s public buildings, shops and businesses, including minimised use of synthetic insecticides through the adoption of integrated pest control measures.
4. BAN PESTICIDES IN SCHOOLS
Take immediate steps to work with the County Council and with individual schools across the city to encourage mechanical or non-synthetic chemical forms of weed control within their grounds, and the adoption of integrated or non-synthetic chemical forms of pest control within their buildings.
5. TACKLE PESTICIDE USE IN UNIVERSITY CAMPUS
Engage with Cambridge University and Anglia Ruskin University as two of the city’s major stakeholders to minimise their intervention in grounds-keeping, and draw on their considerable expertise to increase biodiversity and healthy outdoor environments on campus, including the elimination of synthetic herbicide and insecticide use.
6. BAN ALL PRIVATE USE OF NON-AGRICULTURAL PESTICIDES
Work towards a ban, within the next three years, of the private use of non- agricultural pesticides within the city by householders and business owners, following recent French and Belgian precedents, and to encourage the use of integrated pest control measures and non-synthetic chemical solutions.