Dear Orkney News,
I was sent a request from ‘Wild Justice’ https://wildjustice.org.uk/ providing me with a template and asking me to ask my local authority some questions about herbicide use.
It occurred to me that this might have more impact if I send it to TON as an open letter to the Council.
It could also mean that folk might choose to send a letter personally.
Here it is……
Dear Orkney Islands Council
Re: Herbicide Use – Requests for information under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and/or the Freedom of Information Act 2000
I am a resident of (please insert name of your own village/town) in Orkney. I write regarding Orkney Islands Council’s use of glyphosate-based herbicides, about which I would like to know more.
In this letter I set out a request for environmental information, which I make in accordance with the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (the “EIR 2004”) and/or the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the “FOIA 2000”). Where the Information Sought is available online, I am happy to receive that information by way of link to the respective online source.
I request the following information:
- Which glyphosate-based herbicides are currently used by or on behalf of the Council and/or on land owned by, managed by, or under the control of, the Council?
- For the most recent 12-month period for which information is available, please could you tell me the amount and brand of each glyphosate-based herbicide in question, as well as the size of the area over which they were used.
- Please could you explain the basis for (i) the Council’s choice of particular product(s), and (ii) the Council’s decision to use glyphosate-based herbicides rather than alternative methods. Please could you provide me with copies of any policy or other document which informs that decision-making.
- I understand that, if the Council uses, or instructs other to use, plant protection products (including glyphosate-based herbicides) then the Council is required by law to ensure that: all reasonable precautions are taken to protect human health and the environment; the application of the plant protection product is confined to the crop, land, produce, buildings, contents of buildings, materials or other areas intended to be treated; and when the product is used in places of heightened concern (which includes, among others, areas used by the public or vulnerable groups, areas in the close vicinity of healthcare facilities, and on or along roads, railway lines, very permeable surfaces, or other infrastructure close to surface water or groundwater) that the amount used and the frequency of use are as low as reasonably practicable.
- Please explain how the Council ensures that it complies with the requirements set out above in paragraph 4, particularly in terms of operational decision-making by the Council?
- Please provide me with copies of any policy or other document which informs the Council’s decision-making in relation to compliance with the legal requirements set out in paragraph 4 above. Please also provide copies of evidence of the Council’s decision-making over the past 12 months relating to the records of decisions taken to ensure the amount of plant protection products used and the frequency of use are as low as reasonably practicable.
Time for a response
I should be grateful for a response as soon as possible and no later than 20 working days in accordance with section 5(2) of the EIR 2004, or, if the information is not environmental information, promptly and no later than 20 working days in accordance with section 10 of the FOIA 2000.
Yours, Bernie Bell, Orkney