Cllr Louise Farthing & Brandon Feeley - Washington South

Notice of Motion

Presented to Sunderland City Council by Cllr Louise Farthing at full council Wednesday 24h of March 2021

“I move the motion Mr Mayor as a tribute to the man who inspired me to campaign to stop the use of Glyphosate Mac Fairrington. I was first introduced to Mac by Cllr George Thompson. Mac was passionate about his family, his home, his little dog and about the banning of glyphosate. I still have the hard-backed file of evidence that he presented to me. He would not allow glyphosate to be sprayed on the grass verge that backed his home and kept it in trim himself. He reported personnel spraying glyphosate without masks and protective clothing he was concerned for their health and the reason for this was that Mac had contracted brain cancer so was determined to eliminate potential carcinogenic materials from our

environment. Mac passed away five years ago too soon to see the benches in Ayton park that his litter picking activity has been matched to a neighbourhood improvement programme we then running in Washington. I believe several of my colleagues Cllr Alex Samuels and Cllr Paul Stewart have also been inspired in their case it was Luke Pollard MP Labour’s Shadow Secretary of state for the Environment, I look forward to hearing their contributions to this debate.

My reason for wanting the Council to cease to use Glyphosate is that apart from its potential carcinogenic properties it leaves muddy patches. I was able to demonstrate this to Patrick Melia when he first became Chief Executive. Patrick had advised that he wanted to visit all wards and hear about the local things that concerned members. So when Graeme said ‘we’ve got the Chief coming Lou where shall we take him?’ I had no hesitation. For me it was Ayton park mainly to show him the play park which was in great need of refurbishment and despite having S106 funding had frustratingly not been progressed by officers. I had a catalogue of emails phone calls discussions with Cabinet members and chief Officers and still it stood in its blighted state. Patrick asked why there was so much mud along a small log boundary fence. I was straight off the mark it’s the use of glyphosate. Out came my camera with the photos I had taken in the previous year shots of the same area with its withering grass. I do have a great deal of photographic evidence to demonstrate what is in y view the unnecessary and over-use of glyphosate. In Washington it is sprayed round lampposts, park benches and along hedge rows in fact anything that abuts or protrudes from grass. It leaves muddy patches which are then prone to being inhabited by much more persistent weeds such as dandelion and thistles.

Following a trip into North Yorkshire I was greatly impressed by the wildflower beds which abounded along roadsides and on roundabouts. I thought something similar would be appreciated by

residents so was keen to join a discussion with seed suppliers and their technical adviser when my colleague Cllr Tony Taylor mentioned it to me. What surprised me was that the technique for creating urban wildflower beds if to remove the grass with glyphosate. I was expecting it to be with ta turf cutter as is used in bulb planting. The technical expert was adamant he had advised North Yorkshire on their planting and they had used this technique. So keen to get a project started I gleaned the funding from our ward improvement pot and the bed was created by the use of glyphosate. The technical expert did say that the bed would need weeding once the new plants were established. So during the summer of 2019 on one Rickleton Residents Association litter and volunteering Saturdays I trooped down to the wildflower bed with my three granddaughters to undertake the weeding. We had forks and a Fiskars dandelion remover in our kit along with litter pickers and bags. The bed had bloomed well but disappointingly the dandelions, plantain and thistles had too. Still we all set to work to dig them out with much arguing about whose turn it was to use the Fiskars as the tool allows the operator to flick the lifted weed into the collection bag. What amazed me apart form the resistance of the weeds to the glyphosate was the amazing insect activity that abounded amongst the wildflowers. I’m an avid gardener so used to getting down and dirty in flower and vegetable beds, I just have never seen so many and various creepy crawlies. So I would encourage the further planting of wildflower beds across the City to enhance its biodiversity.

Thank you Mr Mayor I so move.

Eliminating the use of pesticides

Notice of Motion

This council notes

•the increasing concerns raised by residents of this city over the use of pesticides such as glyphosate and the impact they have on human, animal and environmental health through their use on our streets, housing estates, parks and gardens.

• That these concerns are now increasingly supported by a growing body of scientific evidence that show potential links of glyphosate to cancer, liver disease, as well as disruption to reproduction and fertility in the human population.

• That there is also increasing scientific evidence of a steep decline of a number of insect species, ranging from Bees through to Butterflies, caused by the use of glyphosate.

• That due to recent scientific evidence many towns and cities across the UK are considerably reducing, if not completely eradicating the use of such pesticides in urban spaces and switching to non-chemical methods of weed control.

This council therefore agrees to:

• Produce an action plan on the elimination of the use of all pesticides by the council, inclusive of glyphosate, within no more than 3 calendar years following the adoption of this motion by full Council.

• Support our key partners and anchor institutions to follow suit and develop their own strategy for ending the use of pesticides on land under their control.

• Encourage the general public to stop the use of pesticides in gardens, allotments and other areas. • Develop a wider pollination strategy that will show how as a city we will encourage biodiversity and local ecosystems through regeneration and protection of local habitats. For example, through development of local community orchards/gardens, introduction of a wild flowering programme or simple re-wilding areas of the City

Brandon said "As a local resident and a younger person standing for councillor, I am keen to ensure the City of Sunderland is environmentally friendly and this is a step in the right direction towards a greener future for the Residents"

Getting to know Louise

If you wrote a book, what would it be about?

If I ever did write a book it would be about my experience of working in a holiday camp. It was my first time working way from home and the experiences and the people I met were so different from what I had grown up with.

What is the most impressive thing you know how to do?

I am addicted to killer sudoku and can usually work them out but if I get stumped I limit myself to three tries or a time limit of an hour.

What is your favourite song/artist?

Aretha Franklin

Achievement you are most proud of during your time on the council

Two things locally the first was to assist in promoting help for the parents of and young people self-harming when I was Chair of the Washington Area Committee People. Washington Mind worked with both the families and young people to develop what they needed and that work continues today in Washington schools and the app they designed is available across the City.

To get tree management on the agenda for Washington Area committee and to get the pilot launched in 2020 albeit it was delayed because of Covid

When did you last go on holiday and where?

Last holiday was Christmas 2019 which I spent with my daughters in Oxford and Stratford upon avon where they live

The rain doesn't stop me getting out into the community!


I am married with two adult daughters and have five grandchildren. I am a retired Civil Servant, a former Income Tax Inspector. I started my career and finished my career in Washington at Weardale House. I have represented Washington south since 2012.

I was chosen to sit in the Cabinet of Sunderland Council in 2016 with the portfolio of Children Education and Skills , which I continue to hold. In this role I have overseen the improvement in children’s social care in Sunderland with the development of support for families and kinship carers being one of my main aims. I am extremely concerned about the disruption caused to the education of our children and young people by the 2020 and 2021 lockdowns. I will ensure that all resources available are employed to allow children and young people to catch up on the learning they have missed.

I sit on the Board of Sunderland College, which provides training opportunities to prepare people for todays developing industries. An example of this is the work with Sunderland Council to create a classroom in the development of the future types house building in Sunderland Riverside which will be featured in the Sunderland Expo 2023. and the digital hub to be created in Bede Campus


Brandon Feeley

At 24 years old I have lived in Ayton and Oxclose my whole life and educated at Oxclose Nursery, St John Boste and St Roberts. Residents of Ayton may recognise my name as I also run the Residents association via Facebook.

I have worked in people orientated industries since I was 17 years old and strongly believe listening to resident’s views will be crucial in representing them well whether they live in Ayton, Oxclose, Rickleton or Lambton. We need younger voices on the Council to take Sunderland forward into the next era. My voice will be a strong one for Washington alongside my Labour colleagues.

I have three pledges to make for the residents:

– Keep Washington tidy!

– Allow full transparency with Residents on local matters

– Continue to fight to make Sunderland a sustainable, greener city

I look forward to hearing from you on the doorstep


Getting to know Brandon

Why did you decide to stand for election?

To be involved in changing our society for the better, I believe if you want change badly then the best way to create change is by doing it rather than saying it. A lot of critics will never make the step from saying to doing and I commend anybody who does make that transition.

A poet once said

‘I would rather try and fail than fail to try’

And I live my life by that saying.

Did you go to Uni?

I haven’t gone to Uni but my real education comes from working full time since I was 17. I do also study with a company doing Data Analysis in my spare time.

Who inspires you to be better?

I don’t have a certain person that inspires me to better but I met a Canadian war veteran when I was travelling alone from Amsterdam to Dortmund in 2018. He told me some of his war stories whilst on the train and that inspired me a lot to enjoy my holidays and not stress about pointless stuff in life.

What question would you most like to know the answer to?

How society would look like if social media never existed!

When did you last go on holiday and where?

I’m a huge F1 fan and I attended the 2019 Italian GP, that was a pretty once in a lifetime experience.

What misconception do people have about councillors that you wish you could change?

One thing that confuses me is a phrase the gravy train in local politics. If someone told me they wanted be a councillor for the money, I would tell them they have a bad concept on how to make money!

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