Pesticides: Safety

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 25th May 2022.

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Photo of Baroness Hayman of Ullock Baroness Hayman of Ullock Opposition Whip (Lords), Shadow Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Shadow Spokesperson (Levelling Up, Housing, Communities and Local Government)

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the latest findings by the Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use (CRRU) regarding the presence of rodenticide in barn owls; and what plans they have, if any, to prohibit the purchase and use of Second Generation Anticoagulant Rodenticides (SGARs) by non-professional users who are not formally trained in their use.

Photo of Baroness Stedman-Scott Baroness Stedman-Scott The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

Second Generation Anticoagulant Rodenticides (SGARs) were developed to address public health and other concerns arising from increasing resistance among rats and mice to the longstanding use of existing rodenticides. The approval for these substances was renewed under EU Biocidal Products Regulations (EU BPR) in 2016, and are now regulated under corresponding regulations, the Great Britain Biocidal Products Regulation (GB BPR). During the product authorisation process, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) conducts rigorous evaluations for safety and efficacy using scientific data, with restrictions placed on authorisations as appropriate.

A stewardship regime is in place in the UK for professional use of SGARs. A cornerstone of the stewardship scheme is the Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use (CRRU) Code of Best Practice, which sets out guidance on the safe use of rodenticides. It is a legal requirement to comply with this code. The scheme also supports the monitoring of exposure of barn owls and red kites to SGARs (as a sentinel species) led by the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH). Alongside the stewardship scheme, restrictions are placed on non-professional (“amateur”) use of rodenticides to further limit the risks to non-target animals and birds. Rodenticide use by amateur users is restricted to use in and around buildings, with the majority of amateur use restricted to indoor use only.

The stewardship scheme is overseen by a Government Oversight Group (GOG) led by HSE with representatives of other government stakeholders. This year the GOG is conducting a review of the stewardship scheme, including the restrictions placed on amateur use, after five years of operation. HSE is aware of the key findings of the latest report from the CEH, and these will be taken into account as part of the ongoing review, the results of which will be published in due course.

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