16 Mar So far, so good…and spotlight here to stay on rodenticide use
Any notion that the UK Rodenticide Stewardship Regime might be a toothless tiger is dispelled by the first formal assessment from the HSE-led Government Oversight Group (GOG). That’s according to Dr Alan Buckle, chairman of the Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use (CRRU), the body responsible for regime implementation.
The GOG report confirms the regime is fit for purpose. It states an expectation of reducing second generation anticoagulant residues in Barn Owls as a sentinel species, warning that failure to meet this may result in changes to the regime.
Among elements currently in progress, Dr Buckle says utmost priority is the need for verification audits at point of sale. “Ensuring that professional rodenticides are only available to responsible certified users is a critical priority,” he says. “With rodenticides in competent hands, the goal is meaningful behavioural change leading to measurable effects in non-target species.”
Recognising practical reality in its report, GOG “does not under-estimate the significance of this challenge and recognises the significant efforts and achievements of CRRU and all involved.” In particular, the report notes the challenge of getting stewardship standards in place on 100,000 farms.
For the farming sector, stewardship-approved assurance schemes are an alternative to training-based proof of competence in the use of rodenticides. In the report, GOG states the expectation that farmers will not wait for an assurance scheme audit before adopting stewardship standards. It also promises “further work to consider how to validate stewardship compliance on the ground.”
Overall, CRRU’s Dr Buckle says the GOG report makes it very clear that all users of rodenticides and those involved in their supply are in the spotlight. It promises, “on-going evaluation over coming years to establish the extent of any behavioural change and its effect, particularly on non-target animals. We will fully evaluate the regime after five years of operation, and publish a report annually as part of the on-going monitoring process.”
The GOG report is available at hse.gov.uk/biocides/eu-bpr/Rodenticides-Stewardship-Regime- GOG-rev-Feb2017.pdf. The first CRRU annual rodenticide stewardship report was published last month (thinkwildlife.org/downloads_resources/).