An unexpected effect of the Covid-19 lockdown has been that wildflowers have thrived throughout East Lothian.

Left free from mowing and spraying, the county’s green spaces have proliferated with daisies, dandelions, campion, cow parsley and many other colourful and native species.

At a sad time, this resurgence has been a cheerful sight. It has also provided vital habitats and sustenance for the pollinators our planet needs to survive.

It is crucial that we provide homes for nature: bees, butterflies, birds, bats and many other types of wildlife are all in sharp decline.

If East Lothian Council (ELC) resumes its policy of regularly spraying pavements, roads and grass edges with glyphosate weedkiller, it will damage not just the plants it is targeting but our wider ecosystem.

Spraying weeds removes homes for pollinators and wildlife. Bees and other pollinators are vital to our crops, our gardens, our countryside and our planet.Glyphosate wipes out insect populations, pollutes our waterways and ends up poisoning our fish.

Defenders of glyphosate point out that its use is legal.

But this misses the point – its use is immoral environmental vandalism.

At a time when East Lothian Council has declared a climate emergency, we should be aiming to maximise wildlife habitats.

We should therefore be cherishing the greenery that surrounds us, not zapping it with toxic chemicals.

The use of glyphosate has also been linked to cancer in humans; for this and other reasons, other local authorities, and indeed nations, have already pledged not to use it.

Under the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act of 2004, all public bodies are required to further the conservation of biodiversity when carrying out their responsibilities; and the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy makes explicit that local authorities have a key role in preventing habitat loss.We therefore believe that East Lothian Council should lead by example. By stopping spraying (and raising blade heights when mowing so that low-growing plants such as dandelions can survive) ELC can:

- Help wildlife thrive;

- Educate residents on the immense ecological benefits of wilder areas and the need to leave behind an outdated obsession with nature looking ‘neat’;

- Honour the ideals of John Muir;

- Help meet its legal duties to biodiversity and save money; and,

- Make our county even more beautiful.

Now is the perfect opportunity to make this vital change for biodiversity.

Rewilding East Lothian;

Friends Of The Earth East Lothian;

East Lothian Greens;

Sustaining North Berwick;

Lower Impact Living CIC;

Love Musselburgh CIC;

East Linton Melting Pot;

Repair Cafe East Linton;

Climate Friendly


Belhaven Community Garden volunteers