Temporary victory in battle to keep bracken killer

FARMERS have won a temporary reprieve against an EU proposal to ban a chemical used for killing bracken.

A blocking minority by a total of six Member States has prompted the Commission turnaround; however, they have made it clear that this does not necessarily mean they will ultimately change their mind about the ban.

NFU Scotland has appealed to Scottish MEP’s, Defra, Scottish and UK permanent representatives in Brussels and other organisations with a rural and environmental interest for their support in lobbying against the ban of Asulam, and by and large has had a positive and helpful response.

The move to maintain the use of Asulam is supported by CRD, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), The Scottish Government, Defra, Natural England, The Environment Agency, NFU England and Wales and Scottish MEPs George Lyon and Struan Stevenson.

Commenting on the reprieve, NFUS Vice-President John Picken, said; “The news that the Commission has removed the proposal to ban Asulam from today’s vote may well be a temporary reprieve, but it is certainly a welcome step in the right direction.

“Farmers and land managers attempting to control bracken value Asulam highly, and we appreciate the additional time to apply pressure for its retention.

“Asulam is in widespread use within the UK, particularly for the purpose of bracken and dock control, and the removal of it from the market would be a real blow to those using it as a method to control the rampant spread of bracken. Asulam is particularly important to those living in areas where bracken is dense and would, without the product, overtake crucial grazing land.

“At this point we’ve bought some time, but we need to keep up the pressure to ensure the product continues to be licensed for this use.”