A FORMAL call is set to be made for Wrexham Council to ban the use of a weedkiller which has been linked to cancer.

Last month, chemical giant Monsanton was ordered to pay £226 million to a man who claimed products containing glyphosate, including Roundup, caused his cancer.

Roundup is used by the local authority to tackle weeds in the Wrexham area, although it says it has made attempts to minimise its use after admitting to overspraying it during the summer of 2017.

However, Cartrefle councillor Ronnie Prince is now planning to address the council’s executive board directly to ask them to stop using the product altogether.

Cllr Prince said he feared the authority could open itself up to potential legal action if it did not do so.

He said: “A year ago, due to the ongoing controversy over glyphosate-based-herbicide, I asked this council to have a moratorium on using this product so as to err on the side of caution in respect of the cancer causing possibilities of this product.

“Very recently a gardener in America has successfully sued the manufacturers of this product in respect of the cancers he now has and has been awarded over $250 million in compensation.

“I believe the weedkiller he used is the same type of weedkiller that Wrexham Council use.

“In view of this new revelation regarding this issue, I am now calling on the council to refrain from using this product altogether.”

The World Health Organisation has previously said that glyphosate-based weed killers are “probably carcinogenic”, but Monsanto denies the claim and intends to appeal against the American ruling.

Meanwhile, despite Cllr Prince’s concerns, a report due before a scrutiny committee next week recommends that councillors support the current system of using the ‘minimum amount’ of herbicide to control weeds.

Lead member for environment, Cllr David A Bithell, said glyphosate based herbicide is still the most effective method of controlling weeds.

He said: “Spraying of herbicide has been undertaken throughout the county borough for many years where it is required for weed control on highways and related infrastructure.

“The management of herbicides is tightly controlled with only trained employees being able to undertake the spraying work.

“There has been a reduction in the use of herbicide since last year, due to a targeted approach to spraying.

“A further reduction in spraying could be trialled in 2019 to a twice a year treatment, in spring and summer, to see if this will control weed growth sufficiently.

“This carries the risk that it will not be effective, leading to complaints from the public.”

A number of UK councils are trialling alternative approaches to weed control, using a mixture of mechanical, organic herbicide and non-herbicide.

But Cllr Bithell said there would be extra costs involved, both in terms of staffing and equipment, if the authority were to follow them.

He also highlighted ongoing support from the Welsh Government for the

controlled use of glyphosate, as well as the backing of the European Union, UK Government and authorisation from the Health and Safety Executive.

He added: “Streetscene’s use of herbicides is strictly managed.

“The concentrated chemicals are stored in a chemical safe in the Abbey Road depot.

“All products have to be signed out and accounted for when they are used.

“Sheets have to be filled in showing the areas that have been sprayed, why the area has been sprayed and how much chemical has been used.”

The committee will meet on Wednesday, September 12 to discuss the recommendations.

However, Cllr Prince has asked to address members of the executive board on Tuesday.