BURY Council has called an immediate halt to the use of a weed killer used in children's play areas, which has been linked to cancer.

The ban will come into effect straight away ahead of a cabinet meeting next month which will call for an in-depth review of all aspects of glyphosate and its use by the council.

The intervention comes after a group of concerned parents gathered in St Mary’s Park in Prestwich at the weekend to protest against the use of the herbicides in parks and playgrounds across the borough.

Glyphosate is properly licensed and is used across the country by the farming industry and many others; it is also readily available in shops across the borough and used by residents in their own gardens. Regardless, there is debate about its safety.

This week, a jury in the US ordered agribusiness giant Monsanto to pay more than $2 billion to a couple claiming the company’s popular weed killer, Roundup, caused their cancers.

In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the World Health Organisation’s cancer agency, concluded that glyphosate was “probably carcinogenic to humans”. However, several other international agencies continue to declare it as safe, and many scientific studies have found no association with cancer.

Despite the conflicting evidence, Roundup has already been banned by some local authorities across the country, with Bury now following suit.

Councillor Rishi Shori, leader of Bury Council, said: “We are aware of the recent concerns expressed over the use of glyphosate to control weeds, including a campaign and petition from a group of Bury residents.

“We take all matters relating to public health seriously, and feel it is correct to stop using glyphosate herbicide in children’s play areas pending a wider examination of the issue.

"This review will also give us the opportunity to look at what viable alternatives there are and which would best protect our bio-diversity and ecology.

“I have had a positive discussion with local campaign representatives and will be meeting them next week to discuss how we can develop a community response to the use of glyphosate in Bury.”