A "toxic" weedkiller will no longer be used in Croydon's public parks, after the council took control of grounds maintenance in the borough this week. 

Environmental campaigners, led by friends of the earth, called for the council to ban the use of glyphosate, a controversial chemical which is said to increase the risk of cancer. 

This week the council announced they are "investigating the best alternative product" as part of their plan to "improve grounds maintenance services" by bringing them under council control, rather than renewing idVerde’s contract. 

A spokesperson for Croydon friends of the earth said: "We are really happy that Croydon Council has listened to us as residents, and the growing scientific evidence, and agreed to ban glyphosate.

"This change will be good for the health of the people of Croydon and the environment in which we live."

Several European countries, including Holland, Denmark and Sweden, have banned or restricted the use of glyphosate by local authorities.

The World Health Organisation recently stated that glyphosate, the active ingredient in many weedkillers, is “probably carcinogenic to humans."

Reacting to the news, a spokesperson for the Croydon Green party said: "We were happy to support the Croydon friends of the earth campaign asking the council to stop using glyphosate and we are happy that the council has now taken this sensible step. 

"We think that a ban should be introduced at national and EU levels but its good to see councils acting to protect their residents."

The grounds service cares for 127 parks and spaces across the borough, as well as grass verges and hedges. 

Croydon council will now provide the service directly, employing staff itself rather than relying on an external contractor. 

IdVerde have provided the service since 2016, which they inherited from Quadron.

Last year company was being fined £15,000 per month by the council for failing to cut the grass on time and open spaces adequately. 

Councillor Stuart Collins, cabinet member for clean and green Croydon said: “By delivering this service directly to residents we can improve how we direct and shape work

"“We will have more control over what works to carry out and when work will go ahead as we deliver services directly to residents.

“The council is well-placed to listen to and respond quickly to communities, helping them make the most of their parks and open spaces.”