A campaign highlighting the risks associated with the use of metaldehyde (the active ingredient in the majority of slug pellets) has some important lessons for the amenity sector. Metaldehyde Stewardship Group Chairman, David Cameron explains the issues.
" 'Get Pelletwise' has been a large scale and nationwide campaign targeted to the Agricultural market which is the UK's largest user of slug pellets" he says. It was launched earlier this year in reaction to serious incidences where metaldehyde has been found in raw surface water, at levels that are in breach of an EU water directive. It has led to some serious issues for the water companies and poses a risk of regulatory action being taken and restrictions being imposed on this important and market leading slug control treatment. Voluntary measures to prevent problems this autumn are critical and while agriculture is obviously key, all slug pellet users can play a role.
"Slug pellets are pesticides and therefore poorly trained / un-qualified users or poor application practices, such as over application or not cleaning up spills, pose a significant risk and we want all users in all sectors to take treatments more seriously. We can make a difference"
Dr Cameron advises users to always check product labels, the required dose rates and to not apply above the recommended rates. Take care to apply pellets directly onto soil and not onto hard surfaces to avoid the risk of rain water washing slug pellets straight into drains and watercourses. Ensure you leave 5m strip of untreated ground adjacent to road drains, gutters, or other routes to water, and avoid over application, aim to apply the minimum effective dose required to achieve control, and no more than 250g/ha in any single application.
It is also important that any spills on hard surfaces are cleaned up immediately. After treatment, store application equipment under cover and ensure packaging and contaminated clothing is disposed of through a waste disposal contractor."
For more information and to order leaflets, posters and applicator stickers visit www.getpelletwise.co.uk