Decision details

Glyphosate Reduction Trial Update: Highways

Decision status: Recommendations Approved



As per item 8 of the Decision taken by the Cooperative Executive on 22 September 2021, the Cooperative Executive resolved to agree that a further report detailing the outcomes of the Council’s trials in reducing the usage of Glyphosate be brought to a future meeting for consideration. This Reports brings those outcomes to the Committee’s attention.




RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: That the Waste and Street Scene Policy Committee:-


1.     agrees to the continuation of the city-wide reduction in the use of Glyphosate where viable until December 2025, pending central government guidance and/or legislation on the use of pesticides in the public realm and to bring a further report to committee once that guidance and/or legislation has been published;


2.     agrees to implement a suite of educational and informational measures as to what citizens can do to help the Council in delivering a weed free environment to be implemented when seasonally relevant, until December 2025; and


3.     requests that a report be brought back to the Committee in February 2024 setting out options for phasing out the use of Glyphosate.




Reasons for Decision




Approval of the recommendations will allow:


·       A continuous reduction in the use of glyphosate in highway areas across all of Sheffield.


·       The opportunity to work with residents in various areas of the city to promote awareness and encourage action in line with the Nature Emergency outcomes. This will achieve an important step in the city’s response to the declared Nature Emergency.


·       Alignment with the timescales for further central government guidance and/or legislation and future licensing of information on the future licensing of Glyphosate.




Alternatives Considered and Rejected




The option to ‘do nothing’ was considered and discounted considering both the declaration of a Nature Emergency and the support received for the petition against the use of Glyphosate.




The option to cease the use of Glyphosate on all land immediately was considered but discounted due to high level of cost/expenditure. Sheffield has 1,064,045.03 square metres of high usage footways and 8,77,757.67 square metres of lower use footways in the city.


Based on a “worst case scenario” of around 10% of the footway network failing between 2023 and 2037 due to weeds and vegetation this is estimated to cover around £116 million pounds in resurfacing.


Additional Street Cleansing Costs have also been modelled based on 42 additional operatives, additional road sweepers, and other vehicles, and plant machinery being brought into the operation to uplift street cleansing service to manually remove weeds has also been costed at around £2.4 million per year – circa £32 million over the remainder of the PFI contract.


Therefore, the total potential cost implication of complete cessation in a worst-case scenario could be as high as £150 million of additional expenditure. This may however be mitigated should there be a legislative change.


Publication date: 29/09/2023

Date of decision: 27/09/2023

Decided at meeting: 27/09/2023 - Waste & Street Scene Policy Committee

Accompanying Documents: