A LEADER of Dudley Green Party has accused council contractors of being "reckless" for spraying the controversial weedkiller Roundup during high winds as youngsters were on their way to school.

Mark Binnersley, co chairman of the group, hit out at Dudley Council after seeing a workman spraying pavements at 8.30am on a school day in St George's Road, Norton, with the glyphosate based weedkiller - which has been blamed for causing cancer in a series of US trials.

He said: "This is really quite reckless, as it was taking place in high winds when children were walking to school.

"We know the risks associated with this chemical and I don't think it's acceptable to expose the public in this way."

He said he saw the weedkiller dripping on to the contractors boots as he chatted to him and he added: "I would like to see a renewed attempt by Dudley Council this year to consider phasing out Roundup, as many other authorities are doing.

"We shouldn't be behind the curve on this and it really does undermine all the other good environmental work being done."

Norton ward councillor Karen Shakespeare, who is Dudley Council's cabinet member for environmental, highways and street services, the contractors were applying weedkiller to the edges of footpaths in preparation for work to slurry seal the pavements in Princess Road and St George's Road and she added: "They should only be using qualified staff to undertake the works who should be aware of the application requirements. They do have to be mindful of wind.

"The chemical is an approved chemical for amenity use, and is widely used to spray pavements and soft and hard landscaped areas by councils and contractors across the UK.

"However, it is also used for agriculture and on crops where mass spraying takes place, hence contact advice on freshly sprayed agricultural crops that is in contrast to controlled pavement spraying.

"Nonetheless, all applicators should consider the conditions at time of application and we have raised the concerns brought to our attention with contractors who are on site."

Pharmaceutical group Bayer has strongly rejected claims its glyphosate-based Roundup product is carcinogenic.