A PETITION has been launched urging Dudley Council to go pesticide free and ban the use of a controversial weedkiller linked to cancer.

The Pesticide Free Dudley group has today (Thursday) launched an e-petition calling on Dudley Council to stop using glyphosate based pesticide products to keep the borough's weeds in check.

Concerns around the use of the weedkiller, which has been linked to cancer in humans in a series of court cases in the USA, have been raised repeatedly over the last few years by environmental campaigners in Stourbridge.

DIY chain B&Q has stopped selling glyphosate based products, including the widely used Roundup made by multi-national Monsanto, and a growing number of councils across the country have ditched glyphosate based weedkiller and gone pesticide free.

In Dudley, however, environment chiefs have defended their use of the chemical - saying it is legal to use and the council's green care team only treats grassy areas twice a year, highways areas twice and shrub beds on five occasions per year and only spot applications are applied to highways and shrub beds.

The Dudley Pesticide Free group, however, is calling on Dudley Council to ban glyphosate and protect people, pets, wildlife and the environment from toxic pesticides.

Its petition says: "We call on Dudley Council to propose to a ban on glyphosate, stop blanket spraying of our neighbourhoods, parks and schools, and rethink how we interact with nature in our towns.

"Ban glyphosate-based herbicides, exposure to which has been linked to cancer in humans, and has led to ecosystems degradation; look at alternative methods of managing weeds, mow less to allow flowers and plants to thrive which benefit pollinating insects, encourage greater community involvement, with a view to achieving a pesticide-free future.

"Dudley Council spend upwards of £24,000 per year on pesticide spraying, and are unable to tell us what the risks of using glyphosate are. Let's change our thinking, save money for the council, keep and children and pets safe, and allow bees and butterflies to flourish."

Stourbridge Labour campaigner Cat Eccles has been working with Pesticide Free Dudley to lobby the council to stop the use of glyphosate and other chemical weedkillers across the borough.

She took to Facebook this morning to urge people across Stourbridge and the Dudley borough to sign the petition which will remain live until March 31, 2022, and she said: "The council are unable to provide us with any safety advice about these pesticides, which are known to be a hazard to children, pets, wildlife and pollinators."

To sign the petition click on the link at the start of the story.