A STRONG case has been put forward by an industry pressure group to have an extension to the recently announced metaldehyde slug pellet withdrawal period.

The Metaldehyde Stewardship Group (MSG) has submitted a case to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to extend the withdrawal period of metaldehyde from 18 to 24 months for professional use slug pellet products.

Following the recent news announced by Defra in December that metaldehyde will be withdrawn, David Cameron, chairman of the MSG group, explained that the current notification is a sell-out period of six months, expiring June 30, 2019, followed by a 12 month disposal, storage and use up period.

“The majority of slug pellets used in commercial agricultural situations are purchased and applied from August to December and therefore the current timeframe is very restrictive,” he argued. “We are calling for the sale and distribution of professional product stocks to be extended to the end of December, 2019, with the disposal, storage and use up period lasting until the end of December, 2020.

“This will make the total withdrawal period 24 months, providing growers with two further seasons of use and avoid mid-season market chaos. We believe this approach will encourage the most responsible withdrawal of metaldehyde products.”

The Crop Protection Association (CPA) and Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) are also in support of the extended withdrawal period, which has been submitted and this is currently going through the Government's administrative chain.