Metaldehyde slug pellet ban reversed

The High Court in London found in favour of Chiltern Farm Chemicals who challenged a ban imposed om metaldehyde slug pellets. The challenge was on how the decision to ban metaldhyde slug pellets had been arrived at by Michael Gove whilst secretary of state at DEFRA.

Days before the hearing the UK government admitted their decision making process was flawed and unlawful.

Chiltern Farm Chemicals, who manufacture metaldehyde pellets, spokesperson Philiip Tavenor said;

Metaldehyde is back on the market and we've reverted to where we were eight months ago. The sell-out and use-up periods previously put in place no longer appply; it's business as usual

He also said that the company’s metaldehyde slug pellets would be available with immediate effect. Chiltern is one of the largest suppliers of slug control products in the UK. It had disputed the environmental impact of slug pellets on other wildlife apart from slugs.

DEFRA’s spokesperson stated;

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

What we can expect next

Who knows.

improper use of metaldehyde pellets by farmers too near to watercourses is causing pollution problems. A DEFRA mindful of this should seek to reinstate the ban.

Alternatives to metaldehyde slug pellets

Metaldehyde commonly known as ‘meta’ was the active ingredient in slug control products for at least 90 years. However, losing this weapon in the ongoing war with slugs isn’t really a problem for gardeners or farmers. Organically approved ferrous phosphate based pellets are just as effective and easily available.

Ferrous Phosphate based pellets are slightly more expensive than metaldehyde slug pellets. Whilst this extra cost may squeeze the bottom line for farmers, it’s not really significant for garden scale growers. Gardeners report they are more effective than 'meta'.