Demand for natural slug controls will continue to grow, despite the withdrawal and review of the metaldehyde ban following a High Court ruling, says ecofective.
The news that the ban on chemical metaldehyde slug pellets had been overturned on a technicality following a legal challenge by a commercial slug pellet producer took the industry by surprise. DEFRA’s ban saw retailers clear shelves of metaldehyde-based products by the end of June.
Ecofective’s head of sales, Nigel Thompson, said: “The news that metaldehyde could return as a result of this decision is disappointing and flies in the face of growing consumer demand for natural and environmentally friendly pest control products. We know that retailers and consumers are crying out for slug control products that protect precious plants from molluscs without posing a risk to nature or the wider environment - and that is what we will continue to deliver.”
Ecofective Slug Killer uses a ferric phosphate formula approved for organic gardening on bare ground outdoors, in greenhouses and under permanent or temporary covers. It contains a bait that causes slugs to stop feeding and move away from the area. Other manufacturers also use ferric phosphate in their formulations.
A Defra spokesperson saidthe government has decided to withdraw and review the decision made in December 2018 to restrict the sale and use of metaldehyde products following concerns raised about the decision-making process.
“We will retake the decision as swiftly as possible, taking account of the procedural points raised. Our priority is to protect people and the environment, and all decisions on pesticides are always based on the best available science,” her added.
Sources close to suppliers said it was unlikely production of metaldehyde pellets for UK retail use would be resumed until the results of the review were available.
A spokesman for the Common Sense Gardening Group, which encourages consumers to use of pesticides responsibly, said: “The High Court has overturned the 2018 withdrawal of products containing metaldehyde by Defra on the basis of a legal technicality. Whilst this court case is an important decision, we will wait to see the practical outcome of this with further comments from Health and Safety Executive/Chemical Regulations Division.”