Guildford votes to become a Pesticide Free Town 9 December 2021

Last night, a debate took place in Guildford’s council chambers triggered by our petition calling for Guildford to become a Pesticide Free Town. GEF is delighted to announce that following a speech by Helen Harris and Frances Rollin from our Biodiversity group as well as Nick Mole from Pesticide Action Network (PAN), Councillors voted unanimously to support the motion.

In taking this decision, Guildford joins over 60 other cities, towns and boroughs in the UK that are working to phase out their use of pesticides.

GEF looks forward to working with the Council and with PAN to put this great result into practice!

Find out why it’s so important we all stop using pesticides here:

As a GEF member, please support us by stopping using all pesticides in your garden or allotment, and encouraging your neighbours to do the same:

Every year, our pavements, streets, parks, playgrounds and other open spaces in Guildford are sprayed with pesticides. In particular, glyphosate is used across the borough on a regular basis. Inevitably, we as Guildford residents come into contact with these pesticides, as do our children, pets and local wildlife.

Pesticides (including glyphosate) have been linked to an array of health problems, from neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, cancers such as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma to autism in children. Vulnerable groups such as children, pregnant women and the elderly are most at risk of being affected.

As well as damaging human health, pesticides harm urban biodiversity. Pesticides are key contributors to the dramatic reductions in insects such as bees and other pollinators. Glyphosate has been shown to affect bees’ ability to navigate, their sleep, larval development and immunity to deadly infections (1). Glyphosate also kills flowering plants that bees and other insects rely on. This reduction in pollinators has far-reaching consequences for both wildlife and people.

Pesticides contaminate our water supply and harm aquatic life. They also poison our soils and harm soil invertebrates such as worms.

Urban pesticide use is unnecessary. Many towns and cities around the world have banned them (3). Pesticides are banned in all green public spaces across the whole of France. Copenhagen and Seattle manage their public spaces without pesticides. Councils across the UK are showing it can be done too with over 60 councils now implementing programs to phase out their use. Locally, Waverley borough, Petersfield and Chichester have all committed to phase out pesticides whilst trialing alternatives.

Well tested, cost effective and safe non-chemical alternatives to pesticides exist and are already being used in other towns locally (4). Using alternatives, or simply leaving some weeds in place to flower (where they do not cause a hazard) would have a positive impact on biodiversity and human health in Guildford.

We are asking Guildford Borough Council to phase out the use of pesticides, including glyphosate, in Guildford.




Japanese Knotweed Agency is the first and currently only entity that offers a non-chemical Thermo-Electrical treatment

against Japanese Knotweed.

Delivering up to 5000 volts directly to the weed stalks and crowns, sends a massive destructive shock throughout the weed effectively boiling it in situ and it should decompose and leave no trace. It may take several treatments as would chemical treatment, but with thermo-electrical treatment, the ground is left 100% safe and chemical free. Treatment does not affect the ground or land or other foliage next to the treated weed.

Japanese Knotweed Agency will now offer this service across England and Wales throughout 2023 and beyond.

Treatment of weeds such as Japanese Knotweed can now be done safely, and without the use of Glyphosates, protecting our environments and the health of children and adults and wildlife, and is a massive step forward that has been needed for decades in line with Europe.


Read more about the Japanese Knotweed Agency and their Thermo-Electric eradication on our website:

Or call us freephone 03335 777 888