Metaldehyde to be banned
A ban on the use of metaldehyde is to be introduced across Great Britain from spring 2020, because it is deemed to pose an unacceptable risk to wildlife.
News of the ban on its use, except in permanent greenhouses, has been met with great disappointment from professional and amateur metaldehyde stewardship groups.
David Cameron, chairman of the group representing professional users, the Metaldehyde Stewardship Group (MSG), says this comes as a blow to the agricultural industry, who have worked collaboratively to safeguard this key active ingredient for slug control, since 2008.
The decision to prohibit the use of metaldehyde, except in permanent greenhouses, follows advice from the UK Expert Committee on Pesticides (ECP) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) that metaldehyde poses an unacceptable risk to birds and mammals.
Commenting on the ban, Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: “I recognise that significant effort has been put into encouraging growers and gardeners to use this pesticide responsibly by the Metaldehyde Stewardship Group. However, the advice is clear that the risks to wildlife are simply too great – and we must all play our part in helping to protect the environment.”
The outdoor use of metaldehyde will be phased out over 18 months to give growers time to adjust to other methods of slug control. It will be legal to sell metaldehyde products for outdoor use for the next six months, with use of the products then allowed for a further 12 months.
“I encourage companies and growers to look at the alternatives, such as ferric phosphate, which is authorised and does not carry similar risks,” adds Mr Gove.