New stewardship rules restricting the availability of certain anticoagulant rodenticides become effective from this week - April 1st 2016.
The changes will affect anyone who buys rodenticides for professional use outside – for example in protecting central crop stores, feed mills or any premises where agricultural commodities attractive to rodents are handled and stored. Personnel at companies purchasing and using these products for use on their premises will have to hold competent use certification, or where this service is outsourced, ensure that their professional pest controller has the certificate.
The new rules will also affect any business retailing these products to farmers, gamekeepers and professional pest controllers.
European legislation - the EU Biocides Regulation (BPR) 2012 - introduced new authorisation procedures for biocidal products (including anticoagulant rodenticides) which take into consideration their toxicity and residues in wildlife. The regulation requires all biocides available to have their market authorisations renewed.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is responsible for implementing the BPR in the UK. It realised that the toxicity of anticoagulant products, plus their residue levels in predatory animals and birds at the top of the food chain, meant a BPR authorisation was unlikely. At the same time, there are no effective alternatives to anticoagulants for the control of rodents, while resistance to this class of poison is also a growing concern.
Therefore, rather than risk the prohibition of anticoagulants for outdoor use, the HSE worked with industry, particularly the Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use (CRRU), to introduce a Rodenticide Stewardship Regime in the UK. The scheme is intended to restrict the availability of professional use anticoagulant rodenticides to responsible users, both to protect their efficacy for as long as possible, and to reduce residues accumulating in non-target species such as owls that may consume poisoned rodents. As part of the Stewardship Regime, barn owls will be monitored for rodenticide residues.
From next week, authorised rodenticides with the new “stewardship conditions” labels will start to become available for sale over a period of 6 months, and from 1st October 2016, users can only buy the stewardship label products if they can prove they hold a certified proof of competence. Stocks of old-label products will be run down from April 1st. It will be illegal to sell them after October (if they last that long), and it will be illegal to use old-label products from March 31st 2017.
There is a concession for members of CRRU-recognised farm and trade assurance schemes, who are already required to carry out pest risk assessments on their units as part of the scheme protocols. They have until the end of 2017 to acquire their certificate of competence, or for the assurance schemes themselves to ensure that their standards relating to rodent control comply with the CRRU Code of Best Practice for Rodent Control and the Safe Use of Rodenticides. But from October, anyone who is not trained or a member of a CRRU aligned farm assurance scheme will be only be able to purchase amateur sized (up to 1.5kg) packs of anticoagulant rodenticides, a more expensive option.
“Any company wishing to sell professional use rodenticides needs to positively engage with the UK Rodenticide Stewardship Regime,” says Rupert Broome, managing director of Killgerm Group and a director of CRRU who chairs the CRRU Point of Sale Work Group. “It needs a positive commitment from suppliers to apply stewardship measures throughout the supply chain, and to ensure positive checks on proof of competence at the point of sale by for all professional users.”
The scheme is voluntary, he points out, but like other self-regulated industry schemes, it could lead to a more onerous, statutory approach if it fails to meet its objectives.
The regime is supported by all the companies authorised to sell rodenticides in the UK, comprising Antec-Dupont; Babolna-Bio; Barrettine Environmental; BASF; Belgagri; Bell Laboratories; Bayer CropScience; Killgerm Group; LiphaTech; Lodi UK; PelGar International; Pelsis; Rentokil Initial; Syngenta; Unichem and ZAPI.