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Pesticide-free campaign guide Together we can make a difference


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How to build a pesticide free campaign in your town

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Why eliminate pesticides? What are pesticides?

Where are they used?

Pesticides are poisons designed to kill living organisms. The term pesticide includes insecticides (used to kill insects), herbicides (weed killers), fungicides (to kill mould), molluscicides (to kill slugs), and rodenticides (to kill rodents).

Pesticides are mainly associated with agriculture but hundreds of thousands of kilogrammes are used in towns and cities across the UK every year. They are also used by people in their homes and gardens and on their pets.


Are they harmful?

Does everybody use them?

There are well documented links between serious health problems and exposure to pesticides, including birth defects and cancers, and clear evidence for the harm that pesticides have on the environment and biodiversity.

No! There is an ever growing number of towns and cities around the world turning away from pesticides and adopting safer alternatives. In France alone, there are over 900 towns and cities pesticide free. Hundreds of towns and villages in Belgium will be pesticide free by 2020. In Canada 8 out of the 10 Provinces have some form of legislation limiting cosmetic pesticide use. These countries are concerned about the harm that pesticides can cause and are taking action to protect their citizens. The same is possible here in the UK.

Children are particularly vulnerable to pesticides for a variety of reasons. Physiologically they are less well equipped than adults to withstand pesticide exposure. Their skin is more permeable so the chemicals pass through more easily; they take in more air, water and food relative to their body weight; and their systems for dealing with toxins are less well developed and so less able to prevent damage. On top of this, their behaviour also puts them at greater risk. Crawling or playing in areas treated with pesticides, or putting contaminated objects in their mouths makes them more prone to exposure.

Save money Pesticides are expensive. Results of shifting away from pesticide use in Belgium are showing that it can actually save money. There are other indirect savings too including reduced health costs and the costs of removing pesticides from drinking water which are passed on to us in our water bills.

Alternatives There are a number of alternative approaches available to manage weeds and pests without pesticides. It is possible just to accept a higher degree of ‘weediness’ as has been done in Paris, this is also good for supporting biodiversity including pollinators like bees. Mowing and hand weeding are options and there are other mechanical methods such as hot water, flame and foam treatments available. These and other measures have been adopted successfully in many places around the world.

Support us We need your help to make effective change. You can find out more about the issues outlined above and plenty of useful information to get your campaign started at:

Simple steps to act now! 1. Get informed

2. Spread the word

Visit our website: Here you will find all the guidance and materials you need to start your campaign and develop it successfully. As well as details on all aspects of pesticides there are information leaflets and posters to download, links to sample letters and other useful documents, advice on how to create a petition and who to write to. And lots of information about what others are doing in the UK and around the world to stop hazardous pesticides being used in their towns and cities.

Armed with the information and materials available on our website start spreading the word: talk to your neighbours, friends and colleagues about your concerns and provide them with information on why you want to get rid of pesticides and what the benefits of a pesticide free environment will be.

3. Grow your own campaign Start a Facebook group, Twitter account or other social media channel to help spread your campaign. PAN UK has a dedicated Facebook page (and a Facebook group is coming soon!) where you can join in the discussion and find likeminded people in your area or use our website to see if there are others in your area already campaigning against pesticides and join up with them. Start your own local petition either online using a platform such as 38 degrees or on paper and gather signatures that you can present to your local council. Host a meeting and invite a representative of PAN UK to come and talk, we are always happy to do so.

Write a letter about what you are doing to the local newspaper or contact the local radio station for example. You could host a meeting for local people to come and discuss the issues and create a group with you. Print off our leaflets and/or poster and put them in local shops, libraries and other venues. If there are areas that you know don’t use pesticides, perhaps a local allotment, print off one of our pesticide free zone posters and put it up. Don’t forget to send PAN UK a picture of it in place so we can put it on our website for others to see.

4. Contact the right people You will need to contact the people that can make the decisions that will make your town pesticide free or give greater support to your campaign. Your MP, local or County Councillor or local green spaces manager are all people to contact and we have a sample letter available on our website for you to use. We also have more details about who you should contact.

6. Contact other local PFT groups

5. Organise a meeting

Others around the country are campaigning for the same pesticide free goals as you and they will be able to provide help and advice as you progress. You may well hit a point where you think you can’t go any further and they will be able to advice on how to get past this.

Meet with your local decision makers, members of the relevant council committee and those who run the appropriate council department. Contact and meet with your MP. If you are particularly concerned about pesticides used in schools try and arrange a meeting with the head teacher and or the parent teachers association or board of governors.

Details of other groups will be available on the PAN UK website or you can contact others in our Facebook page/ group for help and advice. You can also contact PAN UK for help and advice via email, letter or telephone. Contact details are available on our website.

If you have started a group take a number of representatives along to any meeting to help support you.

Here’s what you can find online LEAFLET:



PARLIAMENT PETITION: (deadline 29th March 2016)

Who are Pesticide Action Network UK? PAN UK is based in Brighton. We are the only UK charity focused solely on addressing the harm caused by chemical pesticides. We work tirelessly to apply pressure to governments, regulators, policy makers, industry and retailers to reduce the impact of harmful pesticides. Find out more about our work at:

Support Pesticide Action Network UK You can donate to PAN UK at: or text PEST23 £3/£5/£10 to 70070 (e.g. Text PEST23 £3 to donate £3)

Contact PAN UK The Green Hub The Brighthelm Centre North Road Brighton BN1 1YD Telephone: 01273 964230 Email:

Follow PAN UK PesticideActionNetworkUK twitter: @pan_uk

Help PAN UK make our towns and cities pesticide free

Pesticide Free Towns - Campaign Guide  

How to build a pesticide free campaign in your town - together we can make a difference.