DUDLEY Council has been slammed as "reckless" for continuing to use weedkiller with glyphosate after two US court cases found it had caused cancer.

Mark Binnersley, Green Party candidate for Norton, said he was shocked to see two council operatives spraying the chemical on pavement verges on The Broadway in Norton, close to Gig Mill Primary School, last Thursday (April 4) at around 8.30am and on a field off Heath Farm Road, Norton, this morning (Tuesday April 9).

Mr Binnersley, who is standing in the May 2 local election, said he has "serious concerns" about the use of the weedkiller and he added: "There are dozens, if not hundreds, of primary school children, their younger siblings and parents walking along these very paths on their way to Gigmill School.

"Given the concerns about glyphosate's carcinogenic potential - two US court hearings have found it causes non-Hodgkins lymphoma and France has banned it this year - it is nothing short of reckless by Dudley Council to not only continue using glyphosate but to do so in close proximity to the borough's children."

Alan Lunt, director of place and deputy chief executive at Dudley Council, said: “We know that maintaining our green spaces and keeping our roads and pavements clear of weeds and obstructions is important to our residents.

“As part of our weed control programme, we do sometimes use products that contain glyphosate, a product which is approved for use in the UK and EU.

"We are also guided by the Chemical Regulations Directorate (CRD), part of the HSE, which closely monitors and approves all herbicides in the UK which still approves glyphosate."

He said should the advice change the council would act accordingly and he added: "I can reassure the people of Dudley that all products that we use are fully approved as safe for use for weed control, and all of our operatives undertake regular and comprehensive training to ensure that it is applied safely and legally."

Pharmaceutical group Bayer has strongly rejected claims its glyphosate-based Roundup product is carcinogenic but a jury in San Francisco, California, USA, recently ruled unanimously that it contributed to causing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in California resident Edwin Hardeman.

Another California man was awarded $289m last August after a state court jury found Roundup caused his cancer - although the payout was later reduced to $78m and is on appeal.

A number of councils across the country are reported to be re-examining their use of glyphosate and Mr Binnersley is urging Dudley Council to abandon its use of chemicals like glyphosate and to adopt more environmentally-friendly methods of keeping the borough looking nice.

He added: "Herbicides and insecticides are being cited by the scientific community as chief causes of dangerous declines in biodiversity, which threatens our own existence on the planet. The council also has a responsibility to educate residents about the benefits of allowing wilderness areas in order to promote healthy, natural landscapes."

Natalie Bennett, former leader of the Green Party, tweeted about the matter - saying weeds could be food for pollinators and home and food to numerous insects and she added: "We need a #WarOnTidiness."

Mr Binnersley is standing against sitting councillor Heather Rogers (independent), Karen Shakespeare (Conservative), Andrew Tromans (Labour), Elaine Sheppard (Lib Dems) and David Powell (UKIP).