The Highland SNP group will tomorrow ask Highland Council to review its policy on the use of controversial weed killer glyphosate across the region and look for a safer alternative.
The herbicide, used extensively world-wide, was last month the subject of a £226m compensation pay-out order by a Californian court against chemical giant Monsanto to groundsman Dewayne Johnson after he claimed products containing glyphosate caused his cancer.
The International Agency for Research into Cancer says glyphosate is ‘probably carcinogenic to humans’ and the Californian court says it contributed ‘substantially’ to Mr Johnson’s illness.
But Monsanto denies the claim, and glyphosate remains as controversial as ever.
Black Isle councillor Craig Fraser is Highland Council’s species champion for solitary bees and bumblebees, species in dramatic decline, thought to be partly due to the use of glyphosate.
He said: “I’ve been worrying about this for years, and I won’t be a hypocrite, I’ve got some RoundUp in my garage, but I use it very sparingly.
“Glyphosate is indiscriminate, it kills where it touches, and I was shocked to hear it is sprayed on crops like barley and wheat and is therefore in the food chain.”
He and councillor colleagues Niall McLean and Maxine Smith have placed a motion before the council tomorrow asking for the review.
He said: “I understand five out of six of Scotland’s MEPs voted to phase out glyphosate by 2022. I hope we can do the same.
“We should manage to get a report back from the council, especially as some of the members are bee keepers.
“We’d like to see alternatives investigated, and these don’t necessarily require any herbicides at all, just things like better verge management which could include strimming for example.”