Legal authorisation is being withdrawn for open area and waste dump use for the only two second generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs) currently allowed to be used that way, bromadiolone and difenacoum.
This change, instigated voluntarily by the Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use UK, with support to make the necessary amendments from UK biocides regulator, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), will take effect in July next year.
CRRU Chairman Dr Alan Buckle said the move was a unanimous decision by all CRRU Directors to help meet rodenticide stewardship’s environmental targets. “A primary factor leading to this is the stubbornly static incidence of rodenticide residues in around 80% of barn owls, the HSE-nominated sentinel species for annual surveillance,” he explained. “This change will enable a single clear message about SGAR use: None of these products can be applied away from buildings.”
Sales of products containing bromadiolone and difenacoum for use in open areas and at waste dumps will therefore cease on July 4, 2024. Products purchased on or before that date will be authorised for use in open areas and waste dumps until December 31, 2024. After that, it will be illegal to use any SGAR product to treat a rodent infestation not associated with a building.
Manufacturers will change product label instructions accordingly and will continue to promote the application of integrated pest management practices among all rodenticide users. The CRRU Code of Best Practice offers a range of effective methods for rodent management away from buildings, including elimination of harbourage, food and water; lethal non-anticoagulant baits; and trapping, shooting and dogs.
Risk to wildlife
In a statement, CRRU’s UK Board of Directors said, at the beginning of the UK Rodenticide Stewardship Regime they decided that manufacturers would not apply for authorisations for products containing the active substances brodifacoum, difethialone and flocoumafen to be used in ‘open areas’ and at ‘waste dumps’.
This was because it considered that these high-potency anticoagulants were most likely to result in risk to wildlife when used in these scenarios.
“The CRRU board has now unanimously decided to extend this policy to products containing bromadiolone and difenacoum, thereby applying a consistent approach to all second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs),” they say said.
“There are two reasons for this. The first is that the previously excluded SGARs bromadiolone and difenacoum contribute significantly to the total burden of SGAR residues found in UK wildlife, and at the initiation of the regime it was a critical requirement set upon CRRU UK by the regulatory agency, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), to reduce all SGAR residues in wildlife.
“The second reason is that there has been a recent and sudden increase in exposure of wildlife to products containing brodifacoum. It is considered that such an apparently recent and widespread increase can only be explained by use of this substance, contrary to label instructions, in the open countryside.
“The new CRRU policy will permit a clear message to be put out to all UK SGAR users: none of them can be used anywhere away from buildings and such use is illegal and may be subject to prosecution.”
The board said it took this decision after carefully considering the availability of alternatives and finding that options exist for those needing to control rodents in open areas and at waste dumps.