Report No FR/D0002

THE USE OF HERBICIDES IN NON-AGRICULTURAL
SITUATIONS IN ENGLAND AND WALES

FR/D0002

Jan 1991

SUMMARY

Based on data primarily from final users, it is estimated that 550 tonnes of active ingredients were used in 1989 for weed control in non-agricultural situations in England and Wales. Nine active ingredients accounted for 902 of the total usage: atrazine (25%), simazine (14%) diuron (12%), 2,4-D (9%), mecoprop (8%), amitrole (14%), glyphosate (5%), sodium chlorate (4%) and MCPA (4%).

Estimated distribution by Water Service Company areas range from 21% in Thames, and 13% in each of Severn-Trent and North-West to 5% in South-West.

Herbicide usage in non-agricultural situations is compared by chemical group, mode of action, timing of application and type of user. Water service and supply companies are attributed with 7% of total active ingredient usage, compared with power and industry (34%), local authorities (33%) and transport (21%). The types of herbicide applied by different user groups are compared; triazines account for more than half the total usage by the transport sector, while the golf and leisure sector uses primarily phenoxy and inorganic herbicides.

Approximately one-third of herbicides are applied in May-June, one-quarter in March-April and one-fifth in July-August. Winter application (November-February) accounts for only about 8% of the total.

Reference is made to the dilemma faced by organisations well aware of the environmental issues and restrictions on the use of triazines but with no clear indication of the way ahead. Some organisations have adopted 'no spray' policies but are concerned about maintaining these in the long term. With the debate moving towards the development of 'best practice', the report concludes by highlighting the need to pool and document experience.

Copies of the report are available from FWR, price 15.00, less 20% to FWR Members.