This is an open letter to a local councillor on Braintree District Council.
Dear Cllr Schwier,
Further to the recent Climate Course, I hope you don’t mind me reaching out to you but I felt that you didn’t really get an opportunity to answer my questions. Perhaps you were a little taken aback to hear that someone could have Glyphosate in their system. I know I was mortified when I received my test results. I have included a copy of them and also the explanation document for your info, I think it may be interesting to you, due to the nature of your talk.
I wholeheartedly support the transition to more sustainable farming methods and applaud the council for proactively promoting this with local farmers. I genuinely don’t understand how the council is supposed to get the ‘buy-in’ from them when it comes to lessening their use of pesticides, whilst the council are continuously refusing to look for safer alternatives themselves. Surely when the council are consistently justifying their own Glyphosate spraying, this is double standards?
It makes no sense to me. The council clearly understands that pesticides are potentially harmful to our health and the environment. Here is one of the ECC Land Use & Green Infrastructure recommendations ‘Use of crop and animal varieties that lessen the need for chemical inputs such as fertilisers and pesticides, which have adverse effects on the environment and human health’.
I would be really keen to understand why ECC/Essex Highways opt to hide behind DEFRA when it suits them, instead of taking meaningful action to stop the harm that they are causing to the environment and wildlife, and possibly the health of the public?
It is bad enough to think that our food and water could be contaminated with pesticides, but to also have it sprayed all around us without our consent is infuriating. I don’t want to ingest Glyphosate; I certainly don’t want my family and pets ingesting it, and I don’t want to see the wildlife and natural environment around me being decimated by it.
It is deeply concerning that ECC continue to prioritise the maintenance of concrete surfaces above the health and wellbeing of people and the planet. I am not the only person to feel this way. I speak to many other residents and councillors from across Essex who agree that it should be stopped. There are also other councils in Essex who are concerned and have followed up with minimising or phasing out their own usage.
During your presentation, you came across as someone who seems passionate about protecting our water and our soil and I expect this is because you do fully understand the risks of pesticide use. Please can I kindly ask that you to get in touch with the Pesticide Free Essex Campaign group? ([email protected]). They have contacted ECC to try and organise a meeting with the Pesticide Action Network, but so far have had with no response. PAN are able to provide advice on safer alternatives and can help support the transition to them.
There are some excellent success stories from councils who have made the swap. It is really shameful that a council like ECC, which claims to be ‘committed to taking robust action on climate change’, is not even prepared to enter into discussion!