Several French mayors asked French President Emmanuel Macron to take action about banning pesticides such as glyphosate, following the president’s calls for “moderation” during a Congress of Mayors, which took place on Tuesday 19 November in Paris, according to reports by Euractiv and La Tribune.

The move came as Bayer announced in October it had launched biological crop protection solutions for organic crops and presented these on October 22 at the industry meeting for manufacturers of organic crop protection products in Basel, Switzerland. Bayer is looking for partners and distributors for the biological pest control products.

During a keynote speech at the Congress, which took place at Porte de Versailles, Macron called for “moderation” with regard to “by-laws to ban pesticides”. Earlier this summer, Macron said he understood the motivations of the municipalities concerned.

Daniel Cueff, the mayor of Langouet (Ille-et-Vilaine), who is not affiliated with any political party, said: “Moderation is not enough to act. It is the state's responsibility, but the state does nothing! We cannot sit by idly and find ourselves in a court of law where we are found guilty.”

Several French mayors have issued anti-pesticide orders out of precaution, putting pressure on the government, which has launched a public consultation on safety distances for the application of plant protection products. Euractiv France reported.

Last May, the mayor of Sceaux (Hauts-de-Seine), Philippe Laurent of the Union of Democrats and Independents (UDI), had also issued an anti-glyphosate decree following a major consultation on the environment with 22,000 of the commune’s inhabitants. Mr. Laurent said: “We don’t have agriculture but railways. Operators continue to use them, but this summer, they committed to stop using them by the end of the year,” explained Laurent.

The use of pesticides is prohibited in all public spaces, except for cemeteries and sports fields. Environmental senator of Morbihan in Britany, Joel Labbé, who introduced the first bill, also intends to introduce a second draft to extend the ban to non-agricultural issues, such as the maintenance of green spaces in private condominiums. “In the Senate, we have a majority on the issue of protecting public health and biodiversity,” he said.

Bayer, the German company which acquired the U.S. seed and pesticide manufacturer Monsanto, is facing an avalanche of lawsuits over the weed killer glyphosate. It is now facing 42,700 compensation claims for glyphosate, mostly in U.S. courts, according to Euractiv and Der Tagesspiegel on 21 October. More than double the 18,400 cases reported in July. CEO Werner Baumann is calling for an “economically-viable” settlement of these cases.

According to Greenpeace EU, Austria is on track to become the first EU country to ban glyphosate that could come into force on January 1, 2020. However, Austria's environment ministry could not confirm how or when the ban would come into effect.