New rules being debated in Europe could make keeping your garden tidy quite literally a massive pain in the neck.
Despite Europe’s food and chemical agencies agreeing that it’s safe, European politicians are considering whether to allow people to continue using the weed killer glyphosate. The substance is the key ingredient in many weed control products used by gardeners.
The alternative is weeding by hand, which would particularly affect the elderly and less mobile. The aggressive invasive plant Japanese knotweed, which can make selling a house extremely problematic, is very difficult to eradicate without access to products containing glyphosate.
Research released today shows that many British gardeners over the age of 50 believe this potential EU weedkiller ban would “impact their ability to garden”, damaging one of the nation’s most popular pastimes for older people.
Sarah Mukherjee, Chief Executive of the Crop Protection Association (CPA), said:
“Every independent scientific study into glyphosate has found it is safe for consumers, including the EU’s own European Chemicals Agency and European Food Safety Authority.
Banning the use of glyphosate would be contrary to the science and cause particular problems for older gardeners who rely on this safe and effective tool to help them create and maintain a beautiful garden, simply because of political pressure from activists.”
Regionally, gardeners in Yorkshire were found to be the most dedicated in England, tending to their gardens the most often and for the longest period of time, while Londoners were revealed as the least dedicated gardeners in England, tending to their gardens less often and for less time.
Gardeners in the North West are the most likely to decorate their gardens, with one in three saying they add ornamental features to their garden, compared to just one in five in London, who are more likely to leave things as they are.
Gardeners in the North East were the most concerned about weeds ruining their gardens, with one in five saying weeds are ‘very problematic’ for their garden – more than three times the number of gardeners who were this concerned in the West Midlands.