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Metaldehyde, The Law and Education Quizzes

How Can This Happen in the UK?

Here at Education Quizzes we are an easy-going bunch of people, we’re very concerned about the environment but not inclined to be controversial and certainly not the sort to organise a petition but recent developments have made my blood boil. By the way, I’m the managing director of Education Quizzes and I take full responsibility for this article on “Metaldehyde, The Law and Education Quizzes”.

Here is the chain of events that has made me see red:

  1. For several years leading to December 2018, many leading environmentalists campaigned for products containing metaldeyhyde to be banned
  2. On 19 December 2018 the British Government acknowledged that metaldehyde was very damaging to wildlife and they banned the sale of it from Spring 2020
  3. In July 2019 the ban was overturned by the High Court in London
  4. Metaldehyde is now available for sale and use for the foreseeable future

So, you might say, there must be a good reason for overturning the ban. Was it found to be less dangerous than originally thought? Had new scientific evidence been produced to convince the court that it was not doing any harm to wildlife? I would gladly have accepted these findings and moved on with my life but…

The reason the ban was overturned was because of the way in which the decision-making process was conducted.

So, we now have the situation that everyone knows that metaldehyde is harmful to wildlife, the government wants to ban it but nothing is being done to prevent its use.

Next Spring we will probably lose yet more of our diminishing quantity of hedgehogs because of the High Court decision. The blackbirds, robins and blue tits in your garden might easily be killed by eating slugs poisoned on your local farm or in your neighbour's garden. Your cat that eats a dead, poisoned bird might well be a casualty when its digestive juices release the poison into its stomach.

And all because of an admin error that was brought to the attention of the High Court

The company that pointed out the error to the High Court is Chiltern Farm Chemicals who are manufacturers of slug pellets. Maybe the last word should go to a spokesman for their company, Mr. Philip Tavener, who told the Farmers Weekly on 30th July, 2019: “Metaldehyde is back on the market and we’ve reverted to where we were eight months ago. The sell-out and use-up periods previously put in place no longer apply; it’s business as usual.”

See why I’m mad?

To learn more about hedgehogs, and about our campaign, you may find these pages of interest:

Hedgehog History

Helping Hedgehogs

Hedgehog Friends

The Menace of Metaldehyde

Return to Hedgehog Sightings Survey

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