SWITCHING to a 'safer alternative' than a chemical weedkiller in Ventnor will cost its town council ten times more a year.

In April, Ventnor Town Council (VTC) banned the use of glyphosates in all non-ornamental areas of the town under its control, after the weedkiller was reintroduced by Island Roads.

While the makers of glyphosates say it is safe to use there have been concerns and bans on the product in various parts of the world.

The reintroduction of glyphosate caused issues within the town, including the potential effect it may have on wall lizards, and led to VTC looking at alternatives.

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At it's meeting last week, VTC agreed to go ahead with the introduction of a 'safe alternative' to glyphosate but at a £1,171 price tag.

Glyphosates had previously been used in nine areas of the town at a fee of £129, with its use only once a year.

Now, the 'safe alternative' would cost the council £260 for one application but have to be applied up to five times a year to have the same effect as the chemical weed killer.

This would see the cost increase from £129 to a potential £1,300 a year.

The increase has been approved by VTC but councillors raised question marks around the 'safe alternative' use at Ventnor Park.

To switch to the alternative at the park, costs would rise from £356 a year for the glyphosate use to £1,068 for one application or, under the same logic it would need to be treated five times, £5,340.

That would mean an increase in fees to the council, and residents, of £4,984.

Watch the weedkiller being sprayed in East Cowes ...

Cllr Steve Cockett, said the increase was an unacceptable use of public money and while he would like to see the use of glyphosates finished completely, that potential increase at this current time, does not work.

Cllr Brian Lucas said it was a moral dilemma about how much money you put against a principle. He said the money has to sit comfortably within the council's affordability and he did not see that was the case.

The council agreed to speak to its grounds maintenance contractor to find out more and if the figure could be negotiated.