Tuesday, August 4, 2015

NEW RULES limiting the purchase and use of professional rodenticide bait - Scotland

NEW RULES limiting the purchase and use of professional rodenticide bait to control rats and mice will come into force next year - but farmers will be able to use their farm assurance scheme membership as proof of competence until at least the end of 2017.

In a move designed to reduce non-target species casualties of rodenticide - barn owls, red kites, buzzards, and kestrels - the Health and Safety Executive has decreed that from June 1, 2016, anyone wishing to buy professional rodenticide bait will need to hold certified 'proof of competence' in rodent pest control.

For most users, particularly gamekeepers, professional pest controllers, and local authority staff, this proof can only be demonstrated via a formal qualification.

Following lobbying by the UK farming unions, which argued that the numbers of farmers who would have needed to be qualified by the deadline was too large for the system to cope with - in excess of 90,000 across the UK - the HSE has agreed that, until December 31, 2017, membership of any farm assurance scheme with a requirement for an audited programme of rodent pest management will be sufficient for the member to continue to be able to buy and use professional rodenticide bait.

In Scotland, both the QMS and SQC schemes meet this requirement, meaning that their combined membership of 13,426 will not be immediately burdened by new red tape.

Similarly, members of all the Red Tractor assurance schemes, including the dairy, fresh produce, and poultry schemes active in Scotland, will also be covered until the end of 2017.

However, the HSE-led government panel overseeing the scheme will be monitoring the impact of the new arrangements, in the expectation that they will reduce non-target species exposure to rodenticides via changes to user practice - most notably through removing bait once rodent pests have been controlled.

"The HSE has laid down a very clear challenge to farming to reduce the amount of non-target species being exposed to rodenticides," said NFUS policy spokesman Andrew Bauer. "This is a challenge NFU Scotland is confident that farmers will rise to meet."
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