21 August 2019
Funding deadline for metaldehyde reduction
Potato Growers in the Severn Trent region have until September 15th to sign up to receive rewards of up to £5/ha for reducing metaldehyde levels in watercourses.
Defra secretary Michael Gove announced in December that metaldehyde would be banned for outdoor use across Great Britain from spring 2020.
The decision to prohibit the use of metaldehyde, except in greenhouses, followed advice from the UK Expert Committee on Pesticides (ECP) and the Health and Safety Executive that metaldehyde “poses an unacceptable risk to birds and mammals”. Growers must now use ferric phosphate to control slugs on potatoes and other crops.
Laura Flower, Severn Trent catchment management scientist, said this year’s Farm to Tap scheme is the last chance for farmers to receive funding for reducing metaldehyde, which will potentially be withdrawn from use in December 2021.
“It’s essential for us to work in collaboration with farmers in the pesticide’s last few seasons of use, as it’s still a challenge to drinking water quality. It’s far easier and more cost effective to prevent metaldehyde reaching water at source than it is to remove at treatment works,” she says. For individual catchments with no exceedances over the drinking water standard of 0.1ppb during the testing period, we’re also offering a £100 bonus to each farm that signs up.
“In addition to the financial support Severn Trent is offering, farmers participating in Farm to Tap can talk to a local agricultural adviser, who can provide advice and resources bespoke to the individual farm,” said Laura.
Although the future of metaldehyde is short, Severn Trent is committed to working in partnership with farmers to extend the Farm to Tap scheme beyond 2019, by turning its focus towards OSR herbicides which can also impact water quality.
To find out if you’re eligible and or to sign up, visit www.stwater.co.uk/farmtotap.