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High Court Ruling on Metaldehyde Must See Science-Based Decision Process Adopted

NFU Scotland has welcomed a High Court decision overturning a DEFRA ban on a trusted and widely used product to combat the threat to crops of slugs.

The ban on metaldehyde slug pellets is being overturned after the High Court in London agreed with a challenge on the legality of the ban, and the pellets will now return to the market.

The way in which the decision was taken by DEFRA to ban metaldehyde has been declared unlawful by the court and this overturns the December 2018 DEFRA ruling that withdrew from the market all products containing metaldehyde, with immediate effect, with their use on farm banned from 2020.

The Court’s order confirms that the applications for product re-authorisation remain outstanding, and DEFRA are required to decide afresh as to whether to grant re-authorisation for the products or to revoke the existing authorisations.

The High Court decision made on 30 July, means that we have reverted to the position we were in eight months ago and products containing metaldehyde will be available once again.

Vice President Charlie Adam said: “Every grower and gardener knows the impact that slugs can quickly have on crops.  Used properly and safely, metaldehyde was a trusted part of the plant protection toolbox until its ban last winter.

“The High Court has decided to overturn the ruling by DEFRA last December to withdraw all products containing metaldehyde with immediate effect, regarding it as unlawful.  That is welcome news.

“DEFRA are now required to decide afresh as to whether to grant re-authorisation for the products or to revoke the existing authorisations with NFUS continuing to advocate a science-based approach.

“Retaining metaldehyde provides farmers with a trusted treatment that, when used properly, is reliable and effective. The targeted nature of metaldehyde allows farmers to use the product against slugs, the arable sector’s most destructive pest, when they are identified without the need to use it as a preventive measure.

“The Metaldehyde Stewardship Group has introduced new buffer zone requirements, promoted reduced usage and the adoption of integrated pest management and again highlights the responsible usage that farmers are demonstrating in their approach to plant protection products.”

Ends

Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Author: Bob Carruth

Date Published:

News Article No.: 111/19


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