Pesticide ban and ‘new’ ways to beat weeds

Blanzac mayor Jean-Philippe Sallée shows the four-butterfly Terre Saine label, given to ‘zero-pesticide’ communes

After farmers using the common pesticide metam sodium had difficulty breathing, it was banned in France until February for tests. Similar fears on other pesticides prompted a national ban on councils using chemicals in parks and, as Brian McCulloch finds, encouraged other ways of working

Communes have had to find new methods of killing weeds since pesticides and herbicides were banned in public parks and gardens 18 months ago.

That has meant blow-torches, hot water or even councils going back in time and getting their workers to hoe out weeds.

Even before putting the ban in place, the government had been encouraging communes to go “zero-pesticide”.

Since 2015, those doing so can use the label Terre Saine (healthy ground).

So far, 317 communes have won the label, and another 4,200 are aiming for one.

It means not using pesticides, including anti-moss preparations on roads and paths, ...

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