Friday, 13 November 2009

Muck & Magic Update

You may recall I spoke recently about the problems of Aminopyralid contamination here. Yesterday, I finally received (after finding out the outcome weeks ago) the government's official response to the e-petition raised which requested this herbicide would not be reinstated for use on farms:

The Government acknowledges the difficulties that the use of manure containing traces of aminopyralid has caused some gardeners and allotment holders. In issuing approvals for two new products, it carefully considered the advice of the independent Advisory Committee on Pesticides (ACP).

The restrictions on the new approvals are intended to ensure that manure containing aminopyralid does not leave the farm:

The new products may only be used on grassland for grazing (not for forage) or amenity grassland.

The labels must state that manure from animals grazed on grassland treated with aminopyralid should be returned directly to grassland - i.e. kept on farm. Similarly, labels will contain a warning that animal waste or plant material suspected of containing aminopyralid must not be used for composting or mulching.

Only grassland grazed by cattle and sheep may be treated - not land grazed by horses.
DowAgrosciences has developed a communications and stewardship campaign for users and distributors to further reduce the risk of problems arising from manure containing aminopyralid residues.

The company will also submit regular reports to Government detailing any complaints and the action taken. These complaints and any received directly will be monitored and, where appropriate, investigated by the Chemicals Regulation Directorate.

If, despite these additional controls and safeguards, significant problems arise in future, the Government’s position will be reviewed again.

In view of recent events, it seems strange the government has heeded the advice of its pesticides committee (yes, I know - an extremely cynical dig, but I couldn't resist) and it remains to be seen whether the new products do indeed stay on the farm, as intended.

Thanks to those of you who signed the e-petition after my post or following Green Lane Allotments' updates in the comments. It now remains for us to be vigilant and to raise the alarm, should the signs of aminopyralid contamination be seen again. I'm sure Green Lane Allotments will be at the forefront of this vigilance.

8 comments:

  1. I got this response too. Though I'm horribly depressed that the government has seen fit to re-approve spraying with this poisonous chemical, I do take some hope from the fact that they aren't allowing it to be used on land grazed by horses.

    So I'm off to the local stables for my manure from now on, then....

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  2. We have an offer of 'collect your own free well-rotted horse muck' posted on the allotment gates at the moment. So I suspect a lot of our plot holders will be joining you.

    However, I see our local cattle farmer's also been dumping his trailer loads for £15 on various plots lately. Not that we had an aminopyralid problem the last time round anyway and long may that continue...

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  3. I've found a compost contaminant today as well - more on that when I get back from holiday...

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  4. Hi VP, I've been having problems loading your blog recently so it's really nice to be finally able to catch up again.

    I'm off down the stables this weekend to collect some manure - providing the wind and rain hold off!

    PS. I hate, loath and detest Marmite!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks for keeping us informed.

    This has been a widespread and serious problem and it's encouraging that some (tardy) government action has been taken. I've received loads of questions about it from readers who, not surprisingly, are angry and distressed.

    I'm not sure I'd want to ban aminopyralid altogether, for farmers, but I would worry that, as so often happens, it becomes misused and thereby becomes a serious contaminant elsewhere.

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  6. So, let me get this straight - the British Government wants to protect horses, but it doesn't care about the health of cows & sheep? Or am I just confused?

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  7. I got the government email too and was most unimpressed - but then I've signed a lot of those petitions over the years and don't remember ever having been impressed by any of the responses yet.

    I'll be sticking with my incredibly expensive but uncontaminated Fertile Fibre then.

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  8. Nutty Gnome - glad to see you're back. Is there anything I can do re your load problem?

    PMN - glad to be of service :)

    MMD - that's one way of looking at it. They don't seem to be that concerned about people who grow their own food either...

    Juliet - I suppose it's almost inevitable. I read somewhere that a petition really only counts as one signature, no matter what the size is. Perhaps individual letters or maybe Twitter is the way forward?

    ReplyDelete

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