The UK farming unions have secured an important concession concerning new rules on the purchase and use of professional rodenticide bait which are due to come into force next year.
Under an agreement with the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), farmers will be allowed to use their farm assurance scheme membership as proof of competence, in relation to bait purchase and use, until at least the end of 2017.
This overcomes, for the time being at least, the HSE’s decree that from June 1, 2016, anyone wishing to buy professional rodenticide bait (but not fumigants) will need to hold certified ‘proof of competence’ in rodent pest control.
The unions argued that the number of farmers who would have needed to be qualified by the June 2016 deadline was so large – in excess of 90,000 across the UK – that there was a real risk that essential rodent control would be under threat.
Under the new agreement, however, members of assurance schemes, such as those run by the Red Tractor organisation and Quality Meat Scotland, will be covered by the concession until the end of 2017.