With the support of Devon County Council, Newton Abbot Town Council , Suez Waste Management, the Devon Environment Foundation and Teignbridge District Council, Green Futures held their first pilot “Pesticide Amnesty” in Bradley Barton in October.
Green Futures Chairperson, Sam Hibbert said “ Our aim is to engage directly with local people in their own community. If we can find out what people think about pesticides and support them to introduce chemical-free gardening, we can create a cleaner and greener environment that supports more pollinators and a healthier future for our children and grandchildren!”.
Pesticides are a wide range of chemicals that are designed to kill plants, insects and other
forms of life that could reduce the productivity of agricultural crops or garden plants that we
want to see flourish. We also use some pesticides to kill weeds that may be growing where we
don’t want them to.
Despite assurances that pesticides are “specific” chemicals that break down relatively quickly in
the environment, they are found in our water supply, in our soil and even within our own body.
Since the 1950’s there has been growing evidence that pesticides cause damage to a wide
range of organisms that live in the wild and more recently it has been confirmed that pesticide
usage has been one of the factors behind the observed decline in pollinating insects within the
U.K. and across the rest of the world over the last 40 years.
The Bradley Bug Recovery Network is a partnership project, co-ordinated by Green Futures, to
show what a local community can do to make a difference and reverse this concerning decline
in pollinators. So far our focus has been on measuring pollinator levels and restoring more
pollinator friendly habitats, such as wildflower meadow, but now we want to tackle the
challenge of pesticide use.
The Bradley Pesticide Amnesty was generously funded by County Councillor for Newton Abbot
North, Phil Bullivant. “ It makes sense to do all we can to encourage pollinators”, said Clr
Bullivant. “If we can go pesticide-free in our gardens, we can help bees and other insects to
flourish and that means better food production and a more resilient ecosystem”.
Having made a positive start in Bradley Barton, the aim is to run a full Amnesty for the whole of
the Bradley Ward area, including Highweek and Hele Park, where people will be able to bring in
any unused pesticides that are in the back of the garden shed. Suez Senior Site Manager, Tom
Clarke came down to see the progress at Bradley and confirmed their support for the initiative “
We’re fully behind Green Futures and the other project partners to work towards a pesticide-
free future. Suez will help in any way that we can to achieve this important goal”.
The results of the pilot in Bradley Barton show that a substantial number of people are already
going pesticide-free in their homes and gardens - 50% of those households who were engaged
with (17) stated that they did not use pesticides. Of the other 50%, 10% of households (4) did
acknowledge that they were using pesticides regularly and the remaining 40% ( 13) did not
confirm whether or not pesticides were in use. Of the 4 housheholds who were using pesticides,
all of them were interested in receiving more support and information to go pesticide-free.
Newton Abbot Town Councillor, Mike Hocking, who lives locally said “This initial research into
the attitudes of local people towards pesticide use clearly shows that there is a growing move
to go pesticide-free , and those who are still using chemicals to control insects and weeds are
open to exploring other options. We now want to expand this work to reach all the other
residents across the Bradley area”.
Green Futures are now planning for a fully operational Bradley Pesticide Amnesty, where
residents from across the ward will be able to bring their old and no-longer needed pesticide
containers to a central collection point where they will be disposed of free of charge. This will
take place in early Spring. Look out for more details nearer the time.