Calls for an end to the use of a controversial weed killer were renewed this week.

Glyphosate has been inconclusively linked with cancer, but Councillor Brenda McGonigle focused on its impact on insect life when calling for the council to axe it.

The council uses glyphosate to control weed growth in various locations on highway, in parks and other council-managed open spaces, spraying around three times per year.

Councillor Brenda McGonigle, speaking at Reading Borough Council (RBC) on Tuesday, March 26, said: “It is now well documented that we are facing an enormous loss of insect life in the UK; some estimate an 80 per cent loss in the last 30 years.

“This is due to pollution, loss of habitat, global warming and particularly the over-use of pesticides/insecticides.

“This insect loss is causing a very serious decline in bird numbers and natural pollinators of our flowers fruits and vegetables.

“This is a serious crisis and a disturbing threat to our food chain and I would like to ask the council to cease using Glyphosate products with immediate effect.”

She added: “We can then encourage residents to follow suit.”

In December 2017, the European Commission renewed approval of glyphosate use for five years.

Concerned residents called for the council to stop spraying Glyphosate products in 2017, ahead of the decision.

Cllr James said: “There is some contradictory evidence about the environmental impact of glyphosate, but there has been no change in national guidance or advice which as a matter of course the council follows as a minimum standard.

“In any case, the council limits the use of all pesticides as much as possible and has assessed the effectiveness and cost of a number of alternatives such as manual control and thermal control with hot water, steam or flame.

“Whilst technology is improving, each of these alternatives is greatly more labour intensive and expensive than the use of glyphosate.

“All staff and contractors applying pesticides for and on behalf of the council are qualified to do so in accordance with the Control of Pesticide Regulations and we regularly review our risk assessments and methods of application.

“The council will continue to monitor carefully the information and advice that is published about glyphosate and regularly review its.”

This week, a jury in the USA ordered Monsanto to pay more than $80 million in damages to a man whose cancer it determined was partly caused by Roundup – a brand of Glyphosate.