Action by PeCAN supporters Julie Yardley and Beth Svarovska has made significant strides in the Pesticide Free Petersfield campaign, which is against the use of pesticides on our public open spaces.

PeCAN trustee Melanie Oxley had noticed the giveaway areas of bright yellow grass around trees and hard structures at both the Taro Centre (pictured) and outside Petersfield Hospital.

Beth, a trustee of the Petersfield Society, decided to approach the district council. The facilities manager at East Hampshire District Council (EHDC) said it was Everyone Active who managed the Taro and who appointed a sub-contractor.

This was found to be often the reason that pesticides are sprayed or hedgerows are cut during nesting season, which are both against EHDC policies or climate strategies.

However, Beth wrote further asking that contractors be briefed accordingly and they replied: “Everyone Active appoints a sub-contractor to complete grounds maintenance works at the leisure centre and as a result of discussions at a meeting, the contractor has been asked not to use any pesticides; they have agreed to this instruction. 

“This instruction also includes the other two leisure centres in the district at Alton and Whitehill & Bordon.”

Regarding the hospital, Julie discovered that grounds work is contracted to who initiated a meeting for her and the hospital’s site manager, who then suggested she speak to the contractor directly.

The site manager also said there was a team of local volunteers who helped with the garden. Julie is now waiting for the contractor to call her.

Beth said: “We need to be sure volunteers for the Clean Up for the Coronation (which launched last Sunday at the Methodist Church, as reported in the Post last week) would not be unwittingly exposed to chemicals, as our risk assessment explicitly states our clean-ups will not go ahead in areas which have been sprayed.”

Melanie Oxley