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Slug Pellets

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 6th March 2019.

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Photo of Lord Hylton Lord Hylton Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to review existing research on earthworms with particular regard to the impact of slug pellets on earthworms and small birds, especially thrushes.

Photo of Lord Gardiner of Kimble Lord Gardiner of Kimble The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Slug pellets are regulated as pesticides. This means that they may only be sold and used if scientific risk assessments find no harmful effect on people and no unacceptable effects on the environment. Possible effects on wildlife (including earthworms and birds) are considered as part of the environmental assessment. Regulatory decisions are regularly reviewed so that safety can be reassessed using the latest data and scientific knowledge.

A recent review of the substance metaldehyde raised concerns about risks to birds and mammals; the use of slug pellets containing metaldehyde is therefore being phased out. Other slug pellets are based on ferric phosphate; the latest risk assessment of this substance concluded that it met all the safety requirements, including those relating to earthworms and birds.

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