As tighter controls come into force on the use of Glyphosate-based products around Europe, it is perhaps unsurprising that a recent study has found increasing numbers of councils in the UK have voluntarily turned to chemical-free weed control solutions.
One of the driving factors for this could be the improvement in the effectiveness of non-herbicidal methods available, with Foamstream from Weedingtech proven to deliver vegetation control comparable to that of Glyphosate in independent trials.
Effective from 1st July, rules regarding the application of Glyphosate have been extended in France - banning its use not just in municipality settings, but now in all public and private areas including residential properties. However, despite its known toxicity and negative impact on both the operator and environment, its use is still permitted in all situations in the UK.
The good news is that recent reports published in The Guardian demonstrate that the number of councils, from parish to county level, turning to natural alternatives is on the rise - with an estimated 80 councils around the UK now proudly chemical-free. "This rise is brilliant news and indicates the increasing concern that councils and the wider public now have about Glyphosate" comments Thomas Hamilton, Co-Founder of Weedingtech. "But for this positive growth to continue, Councils needs to be assured that the non-chemical alternatives available are effective and viable - from both a commercial and financial perspective."
Since its launch in 2011, Foamstream has proved a successful solution to users from all corners of grounds and green space management. The active ingredient is hot water, insulated by a biodegradable, organic foam derived from natural plant oils and sugars which keeps the water in the 'kill zone' of 57oC and above for longer. As well as killing the plant, Foamstream also sterilises surrounding seeds and spores, preventing future weed growth and resulting in half the number of treatment cycles required when compared to other non-chemical options.
In four separate trials conducted by the University of Athens, the overall efficacy of hot foam used to treat a wide range of broadleaf weeds - including species that can be difficult to control by conventional methods - was found to be comparable to that of glyphosate. It was concluded that Foamstream provided an environmentally friendly and effective alternative, outperforming other non-chemical methods which only provided a moderate level of weed control.
One of the many councils now using Foamstream is Glastonbury Town Council, having previously used traditional herbicides to treat spaces in the town centre, residential areas and school perimeters. "A lot of our residents, myself included, are concerned at the use of chemical herbicides around the places where our children play" explains Councillor Emma George. "One of the greatest things about Foamstream is its complete non-toxicity, backed up by its Soil Association stamp of approval, and its viability on all types of weeds and all types of surfaces."