A DECISION by Torfaen council to continue using a weedkiller linked to causing cancer in a court ruling, has been described as a “kick in the teeth for residents”.

The county borough council decided to continue using the glyphosate-based weedkiller on Japanese Knotweed and pavements in the borough at a meeting yesterday, while continuing to monitor alternatives that are being developed.

A motion to stop using the product, and one to limit its use to preventing Japanese Knotweed were both defeated, before councillors voted to continue using the glyphosate-based product.

A protest was held outside of the council chamber in Pontypool ahead of the meeting, with campaigners urging councillors not to vote for continuing its use.

Nearly 700 people have signed a petition titled, “stop spraying our towns with probable cancer causing glyphosate”, which was presented to the council last autumn.

Councillor Fiona Cross, cabinet member for environment, said that stopping the use of the weedkiller without an effective alternative in place could have a “detrimental effect” on the appearance of the county borough, as well as leading to structural issues causing trip hazards.

She also pointed out that the authority uses a low concentration of the substance, and said the Welsh Government and European Union endorse the product.

Council leader Anthony Hunt backed Cllr Cross, saying the council must take a pragmatic approach.

But he added that if a “better alternative” becomes available, the council “should look to use that.”

However, independent councillor David Thomas, said the council should not take “unnecessary risks” by using the weedkiller, and called for it to be scrapped.

Councillor Elizabeth Haynes put forward a motion for the authority to stop using the product, but an amended version of this was voted down.

A second motion was put forward by Conservative councillor Huw Bevan, which called for the council to continue using the glyphosate-based weedkiller but not in “high public footfall” areas.

Councillor Bevan said he understood there is “no other effective treatment” for Japanese Knotweed, but called for the authority to further limit the product’s use elsewhere. However this motion too, was defeated.

Campaigner Terry Banfield said the decision is “a total kick in the teeth for the residents of Torfaen.”

Carole Jacob, co-ordinator at Torfaen Friends of the Earth, said she is also "unhappy" about the use of the product.