THE use of potentially toxic weed killer in streets, parks and cemeteries is “contributing to the death of humanity”, a councillor has claimed.

Hexham Town Council currently uses repellent containing glysophate, the chemical substance which has been linked to cancer, and can have an adverse affect on wildlife.

The council is set to phase out the use of the weed killer as it urgently seeks to find a safer alternative.

But at the council’s meeting on Monday, which took place via a live video conference, Coun. John Ord called for use of the product to be banned immediately.

He said: “By spraying this poison around the streets and public spaces you are not helping the public keep safe.

“There is evidence to show that you can get cancer from this. It should not be used in public spaces.

“We are in the middle of this huge extinction and in the end it will be humans. We are contributing to the death of humanity.”

The council agreed to back a proposal from Coun. Tom Gillanders, to phase out the use of the weed killer while searching for a more environmentally friendly replacement.

Chairing the meeting, Hexham’s mayor, Coun. Bob Hull said the council would have to work closely alongside other organisations to ensure a joined-up approach across to the town.

He added: “We accept the proposal and look to a phased withdrawal, working with Northumberland County Council and Karbon Homes.”

After the meeting, members of the campaign group Extinction Rebellion Tynedale urged swift action.

Nick Morphet, who ran as the Green Party candidate at last year's General Election, said: "Non-chemical alternatives exist, and many councils have already found them to be effective.

"Should we be killing these plants at all? Wild plants and flowers are as beautiful and fascinating as they are essential to a healthy environment. Unless there is a good reason to control them, they should be cherished and allowed to thrive."