Government paves the way for rodenticide stewardship

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The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) announced yesterday, 23 July, that the cross-government Oversight Group, established to consider industry proposals for rodenticide stewardship, had agreed a set of high-level principles that must be followed by any rodenticide stewardship regime. This effectively paves the way for the launch of a UK rodenticide stewardship scheme.

The release explains that regulatory risk assessments have concluded that the outdoor use of both first- and second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides (FGARs and SGARs) present a higher risk to animals such as predatory birds and mammals, than would normally be considered acceptable.

It is important to note that this officially means that first-generation products are now also to be included in stewardship along with the SGARs.

The release continues:

‘However the Government recognises that, despite carrying these risks, outdoor use of rodenticides is sometimes necessary as part of properly managed rodent control strategies.

In order to authorise these rodenticides for use outdoors, Government must be assured that the risks will be properly managed. One way of providing that assurance is through industry-led stewardship regimes.

The Oversight Group consisting of officials from HSE, HSE NI, DEFRA, Public Health England, Natural England, the Welsh and Scottish Governments and an independent scientific adviser, have agreed the principles that industry must follow if they want to set up a stewardship regime.’

So what are these high level principles? The HSE website lists the principles as:

Any Rodenticide Stewardship Regime is built on:

  • Using Integrated Pest Management, including use of rodenticides, involving a hierarchy of risk controls for rodents
  • Using rodenticides responsibly, when demonstrated they are needed, because of their potential threat to human, animal health and the environment
  • Being applicable to all suppliers, handlers and professional users of rodenticides approved under stewardship to address these risks
  • Being robust, effective and workable, while remaining as simple as possible
  • Covering the whole life-cycle of the rodenticide products: manufacture, supply chain, end-use, disposal and environmental fate
  • Enabling good practice in the control of rodent populations as part of an integrated pest management system, while minimising resistance build-up and secondary poisoning in non-target species

Delivering key benefits such as:

  • Governance of the supply chain, which gives governance over and provides the driver for later stages
  • A competent workforce capable of delivering stewardship standards and of demonstrating an appropriate understanding and attitude toward case-specific control of rodents and use of rodenticides
  • Monitoring compliance with the regime and its environmental impacts, and if possible of the level of conflict reduction – i.e. an assessment of whether rodenticides and stewardship together are actually tackling the problems
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