Farmers, gamekeepers and pest controllers are being encouraged to undertake knowledge updates to maintain their professional competence in the use of stewardship-label rodenticides.
In its response to UK Rodenticide Stewardship’s 2017 annual report, the Government panel that oversees the regime says continuing professional development (CPD) is particularly important. “Management of environmental risks relies on high levels of knowledge among those who use rodenticides outdoors, in order to limit the potential for secondary poisoning of non-target species and other unintended exposure,” it states.
From the Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use, the body that co-ordinates stewardship implementation, chairman Dr Alan Buckle explains that obtaining a training-based certificate of competence or stewardship-approved farm assurance membership is not seen as a lifetime pass.
He confirms that the regime’s Training and Certification Work Group is currently drawing up CPD materials for all rodenticide user groups.
Other requirements in the Government panel’s response paper include starting to monitor liver residues of rodenticides in the red kite, as a sentinel of scavenging species, in addition to the barn owl that takes live prey.
The paper confirms, “the Rodenticides Stewardship Regime is fit for purpose”. It acknowledges new standards adopted by stewardship-approved farm assurance schemes, the 2018 programme of BASIS store audits, and supply of all requested monitoring data.
It also reaffirms that “Government scrutiny will focus on the extent of any behavioural change among those operating in the sector and the measurable effect this has on residue levels in non-target animals. Government will fully evaluate the regime after five years of operation at the latest.” That deadline is in 2020.
The full response paper is available from http://www.hse.gov.uk/biocides/eu-bpr/Rodenticides-Stewardship-Regime-GOG-rev-Feb2018.pdf. The panel’s formal title is Rodenticides Stewardship Government Oversight Group. It is chaired by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and includes other government stakeholders: HSE NI, DEFRA, Public Health England, Natural England, the Welsh and Scottish Governments and an independent scientific adviser.