Glyphosate – Still weed control key

Amenity contractors can continue to offer their clients the best possible weed control service with glyphosate in 2017, confident that they are acting responsibly and within the law, says Monsanto.
Since the extension of registration of glyphosate was agreed in the summer, the active ingredient has received significant media attention.
But little has actually changed, explains Monsanto’s Technology Development and Stewardship Manager Manda Sansom.
The EU Commission Implementing Regulation on glyphosate issued on 1st August 2016 stated: Member States must pay particular attention to the risks from the use in specified areas referred to in Article 12 (a) of Directive 2009/128/EC (The Sustainable Use Directive or SUD).
Specified areas in UK legislation include those used by the general public, which has led some sources to suggest that glyphosate should not be used in amenity applications such as spraying in parks or around sports facilities.
However, Ms Sansom says that this is not the case: “Here in the UK, the Plant Protection Products (Sustainable Use) Regulations 2012 have already been rigorously implemented and require pesticide use to be kept ‘as low as reasonably practicable’.”
Also of relevance to the amenity sector, the Regulation also required Member States to ensure glyphosate products do not contain tallowamine surfactants, which will result in the phasing out of all glyphosate products containing tallowamine. However Monsanto amenity Roundup products have been tallowamine-free since 2014.
The glyphosate registration renewal process should be concluded by the end of the 2017, adds Monsanto Technical Development Manager Barrie Hunt. “The process is presently focused on the assessment of glyphosate by the European Chemical Agency. Once this is completed, probably sometime next summer, the formal regulatory process can restart with the glyphosate renewal being decided by the end of the year. In the meantime Roundup availability and use continues.”
Amenity contractors say that it is business as usual – Complete Weed Control’s Alan Abel comments: “We have had many discussions with our clients about glyphosate, but they and we understand that we cannot do without it.”
Mr Abel points out that contractors and amenity sprayer operators using glyphosate should only do so in accordance with SUD and the chemical manufacturer’s label recommendations.
He adds that local authority clients are also revising their spray schedules to minimise chemical use: “Local authority cutbacks meant that some councils were reducing the number of sprays, but this actually necessitated the use of higher chemical doses to control the additional weed growth. By making three applications a year rather than two it is possible to reduce the overall chemical volumes needed.”
Amenity Forum chairman John Moverley suggests that contractors should demonstrate to the public and clients their commitment to best practice by being a member of the Amenity Assured Scheme.
“I would also urge professionals to demonstrate that they are operating to Amenity Assured standards, and in compliance with the law, with practices including sprayer testing, recognised certification for all pesticide operators and legal responsibility on any person purchasing pesticides to ensure they are used by certificated operators.”
“The current review processes are extremely rigorous and testing and those pesticides currently available are constantly monitored and properly reviewed.”

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