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Dear Councillor Dowling (East Sussex County Council)

I am writing to you to ask you to follow the lead of 67 other councils, including Surrey County Council, and ban the use of glyphosate in our public spaces.

Glyphosate is now banned or restricted in 21 countries around the world, and the European Parliament has voted to ban its use in the EU by 2022. Germany has announced it will ban it by 2023. The use of this herbicide is now the subject of several billion-dollar lawsuits in the US, because of its probable link to cancer. Studies have shown it has a deleterious effect on bee health.

A number of safer, organic alternatives are readily available, such as Foamstream (see the relevant article here, from the very helpful Pesticides Action Network). Please take action now to help preserve our natural environment.

The same petition also urges East Sussex County Council to review its verge mowing policy and stop the blanket mowing of all verges in May or early June. This is disastrous for biodiversity. A simple change from having to nominate wildlife verges to an assumption that mowing should happen later in July when seed has set would have a huge benefit to nature.

Following the guidelines, outlined by the Plantlife charity and the example set by councils like Dorset to change mowing regimes, could save the council money and show a serious commitment to the council’s Environment Strategy published this year which commits the council to increasing or restoring natural habitats. Our road verges are a valuable contribution to creating wildlife corridors through the towns and villages of East Sussex.

These two small changes would show that our county council is serious about taking action to combat the biodiversity loss happening across our country.

Yours sincerely
Julia Hilton


Dear Kim Forward (Leader, Hastings Borough Council)

Sorry to write to you again. Just told my 93 year old Mum you have removed the seats in town. She hopes to go to Kamsons for her flu jab … now she wonders where she will wait…will she have to take a fold out seat with her (which would impede her mobility)?.. her words were,

I find it hard to not to be angry. The drinkers and drug users will obviously go somewhere else. You have spent valuable council money. You have created an ACCESS issue for the disabled. Please tell me the logic for this and what I can tell my Mum. Meanwhile I would not be surprised if BBC news picked up on this.

Yours sincerely,
Liz Coleman

PICTURE: anna-shvets/ pexels


I read with interest your recent article regarding a demonstration that had been denied permission to take place in a public space. The demonstration was flagged as being in the name of freedom, questioning social distancing and wearing masks (among other things). While normally I would passionately defend the right to demonstrate, it is different when the demonstration starts out expressly intending to break the law. I personally have no doubt that the Coronavirus exists and that it is dangerous. Therefore, I find this disregard for the safety of our community, in such an organised manner, reckless and disturbing.

In terms of the key figures involved in the demonstration, a look around the Facebook group that appears to be at the centre of the collective, reveals some dangerous tendencies among member postings.

Bundled in with the discussion around the apparent threat to our long-term freedom caused by social distancing and Lockdown measures, are frequent references to right wing conspiracies, anti-semitic tropes, anti-vaxxer polemic and swivel-eyed theories regarding Bill Gates and his plan to subjugate the world (one charitable donation at a time, presumably). David Icke is reverently held up as one of the figureheads for this new movement, his theories about reptilian alien invaders masquerading as a global elite perhaps conveniently laid to one side for the moment.

For anyone seduced by the idea of ‘freedom fighting’ with this group, I would simply say, be careful of the company you keep.

Sebastian Wilkes 
(St Leonards-on-Sea) 


Since when did the HIP become an affiliate of the Fortean Times? You know which article I refer to [see HIP issue 160, Invisible Enemies, by Susan McFie]. This was, at a stretch, opinion, not news. Your credibility has been irredeemably compromised by the editorial decision to carry this, and compromises all of your collective values.
Stiv Addison via Facebook

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