DENBIGHSHIRE has become the first local authority in the UK to use a herbicide-free weed killing technology.

Denbighshire County Council's (DCC) Countryside Service department has taken delivery of the new Foamstream M600, which uses heat and an organic foam made from olive oil to kill plants.

The foam is non-toxic and will enable the council to reduce the amount of herbicides it uses to control the unwanted growth of plants and non-native invasive weeds.

Herbicides have been linked to negative impacts on the environment with a number of recent studies identifying glyphosate, the most commonly used herbicide, as a cause of death and decline among honey bees. Aquatic species are also vulnerable to the effects of herbicides.

It is hoped the foam will prove beneficial in ecologically-sensitive environments, such as Sites of Special Scientific Interest, Special Areas of Conservation and county wildlife sites.

Cllr Tony Thomas, DCC's lead member for the environment, said: “Protecting the environment is something the council takes very seriously and is a priority for us under our Corporate Plan.

“The use of herbicides is a concern for many residents, and we are investing in new, state-of-the-art technologies to manage our environment in a more eco-friendly way.

“This is the first step towards eliminating the use of herbicides and we will also be running a trial to see how effective this is at controlling weed growth on pavements and roads, as an alternative using herbicides in more urban settings.

“We are the first organisation in UK to purchase the latest technology to control unwanted growth of plants and non-native invasive weeds and hope other organisations follow our example.”

As the foam is completely organic and non-toxic it can be used near to water without damage to freshwater ecosystems and the species they contain.

Earlier this year Denbighshire County Council was awarded Bee Friendly status from the Welsh Government, a scheme which aims to make Wales a pollinator-friendly country.