Closed petition We call on DEFRA, to reinstate the ban on the use of metaldehyde slug pellets.

The government has conceded that its decision making process was flawed and has overturned the ban on metaldehyde slug pellets. We now call on the government to urgently follow the correct decision making process to ensure a ban on the use of metaldehyde pellets is put in place as soon as possible.

More details

In December 2018 DEFRA ruled to withdraw from the market all products containing metaldehyde with immediate effect with their use on farms banned from 2020.
In July 2019 the government conceded that its decision-making process had been flawed and the decision was withdrawn.

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Government responded

This response was given on 24 August 2020

The Government is required to decide whether metaldehyde products should continue to be authorised for use. We will announce our decision in the near future.

Pesticides, such as metaldehyde slug pellets, are strictly regulated. Their sale and use are only authorised if a scientific assessment finds that this will not harm people and will have no unacceptable influence on the environment. The law also requires that authorisations must be regularly reviewed.

Following a review of metaldehyde product authorisations, the Government decided in December 2018 to ban the sale and use of these products (other than in greenhouses). The decision was taken because the available scientific evidence did not establish that metaldehyde products would have no unacceptable influence on the environment, having particular regard to the impact on birds and mammals. It applied to all outdoor uses of metaldehyde slug pellets, both on farms and in gardens.

In March of last year, a legal challenge was brought against certain procedural aspects of that decision. The challenge was not based on new scientific information about the risks posed by metaldehyde. The Government conceded the challenge and the decision was quashed by the High Court. The effect of the High Court order was that all metaldehyde product authorisations were reinstated. This means that the sale and use of metaldehyde products continues to be permitted in the United Kingdom.

The Government is still required to take a decision regarding metaldehyde product authorisations, taking account of the evidence provided by applicants, expert advice and the full legal requirements for authorisation. The Government will announce its decision in the near future.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affaris