Agenda and minutes

Cleaner Communities Overview & Scrutiny Committee
Wednesday, 14th November, 2018 1.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Centre, Hanbury Road, Pontypool, NP4 6YB

Contact: Rachel Beale  Senior Business Support Officer - Democratic Services

No. Item


Welcome & Apologies / Croeso ac Ymddiheuriadau


1.1         The Chair welcomed Councillor Ron Burnett to his first Cleaner Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

1.2         He gave thanks to Councillor Louise Shepphard and Councillor Jason O’Connell for their hard work and contribution in the last year, who were no longer members on the Committee.

1.3         Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Giles Davies.


Declarations of Interest / Datganiadau o Fuddiant


2.1       Councillor Stuart Ashley declared a personal interest as a Member of Torfaen Friends of the Earth and a Member of Garden Organic. 


Minutes 19/09/2018 / Cofnodion 19/09/2018 pdf icon PDF 423 KB


3.1       The minutes of the meeting held on 19th September 2018 were confirmed as an accurate record.


Action Sheet / Taflen Weithredu pdf icon PDF 100 KB


4.1         Members noted the action sheet.



Review of the Current Policy on the Use of Glyphosate / Adolygiad o'r Polisi Presennol ar Ddefnyddio Glyffosad pdf icon PDF 281 KB

Additional documents:


5.1       The Chair welcomed Carol Jacobs from Torfaen Friends of the Earth to the meeting.  


5.2       Members asked Carol a number of questions and she gave the following replies:

  • She thanked Members for the opportunity to attend the meeting and was pleased to see that the Council was reviewing the use of Glyphosate.
  • Torfaen Friends of the Earth were concerned with the use of Glyphosate and the effect on humans and the environment.
  • Friends of the Earth followed the science around Glyphosate, however there were debates around what science to follow and where the true science lied.
  • Torfaen Friends of the Earth believed that Glyphosate was not environmentally friendly and followed the view of Friends of the Earth nationally.
  • Some Local Authorities were using alternatives to Glyphosate, Bristol Council had produced an excellent report regarding changing the way they were treating weeds.
  • There were different environments and each area needed their own approach to tackling weeds, not every area required the same treatment and Glyphosate was not safe to use in all circumstances.
  • Japanese Knotweed was invasive and the safest way to treat it was to inject Glyphosate into the roots.
  • There had been instances where the operatives were not following DEFA guidelines when using Glyphosate.
  • She felt that the Council should engage with the public and get them involved by clearing the weeds on their own streets. Hand picking weeds was the safest option and the public should be involved and should be carried out in the same way as litter picking.
  • It was important to educate the public, the benefit of not using pesticides was noted by the public. She suggested that the Council offer incentives for residents who cleared the weeds from their streets such as a rate reduction for the best kept street or offer supermarket vouchers.
  • A safe ways of clearing weeds included scrubbing the weeds out using metal brushes, however it was important that the pavements were swept.
  • She would like to see the Council commit to not using Glyphosate and engage in other methods, unless in extreme circumstances such as Japanese Knotweed, as she was not aware of any other treatment which currently controlled it. 
  • She would like to see the Council progress with the approach of minimising the use of Glyphosate and aim to set a date when it would stop being used.
  • The scientific evidence was not a matter of debate in her opinion and Friends of the Earth were against the use of Glyphosate.
  • She did not have costings for alternative methods. If the Council chose the method of hand picking weeds it would be labour costs only. The steam method would be expensive initially, however the equipment could be shared with neighbouring Local Authorities or hired out to recuperate the cost. Glyphosate was the cheapest method although it was not the cheapest in terms of people’s health.
  • Japanese Knotweed was a problem that only Glyphosate could control however other methods could be used on the hard surfaces. She noted  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Item for Next Meeting / Eitem ar gyfer y Cyfarfod Nesaf


6.1       The topic to be discussed at the next meeting would be the Final Waste Strategy.


6.2       The Chair asked the committee a number of questions in relation to the next meeting.


6.3       In response to the questions, the committee agreed not to invite the relevant Executive Member to the meeting as the appropriate Officers would suffice. The Committee suggested that the Chair and Scrutiny Officer discuss possible invitees and inform the Committee on their decision. The Committee felt that they would not benefit from a site visit on that particular topic. 



Date of Next Meeting - 23/01/2019 / Dyddiad y Cyfarfod Nesaf - 23/01/2019


7.1       The next meeting was scheduled to take place on Wednesday 23rd January 2019.