Friday, March 22, 2019

Manufacturers seek extension to metaldehyde withdrawal period

March 5, 2019 by  
Filed under Crops

Slug pellet manufacturers have asked the government to delay a forthcoming ban on metaldehyde – announced late last year over concerns for wildlife.

A ban on outdoor use of metaldehyde-based slug pellets is due to be phased in over 15 months. Defra said it was acting on advice from the UK Expert Committee on Pesticides and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) that metaldehyde poses an unacceptable risk to birds and mammals.

The new restrictions would also reduce the possibility of the pesticide contaminating drinking water sources, said Defra. Although this was not a factor in the ban, it said the restrictions would help water companies continue to meet robust drinking water standards.

Under the ban, no metaldehyde products will be sold after 30 June 2019. Farmers will then have a 12 month disposal period to use up metaldehyde pellets by 30 June 2020.

But the Metaldehyde Stewardship Group, which represents manufacturers, says the timescale is too tight. It has asked the Health and Safety Executive to extend the withdrawal period for metaldehyde from 18 to 24 months for the professional use of slug pellet products.

MSG group chairman David Cameron said: “The majority of slug pellets used in commercial agricultural situations are purchased and applied from August to December and therefore the current timeframe is very restrictive.”

Mr Cameron added: “We are calling for the sale and distribution of professional product stocks to be extended to the end of December 2019, with the disposal, storage and use up period lasting until the end of December 2020.

“This will make the total withdrawal period 24 months, providing growers with two further seasons of use and avoid mid-season market chaos. We believe this approach will encourage the most responsible withdrawal of metaldehyde products.”

The stewardship group says steps introduced in 2017 ensure the maximum protection of birds and small mammals, as well as water. The Crop Protection Association and Agricultural Industries Confederation also support an extended withdrawal period.

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