Scotland removes illegal pesticides from the environment

by Search Gate staff. Published Wed 09 Sep 2015 11:30
Killer chemicals handed over during pioneering scheme
Killer chemicals handed over during pioneering scheme

Over 100 kilograms of Carbofuran and over 480 kilograms of Sodium Cyanide products were safely removed from Scotland’s environment as part of the pesticides disposal scheme, Environment Minister Aileen McLeod announced today.

A total of 191 requests for disposal of illegal pesticides were fulfilled, some involving more than one type of pesticide.

The scheme operated between 23 February and 29 May 2015, with the support of stakeholders in the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime (PAW) Scotland. It offered a free and confidential service for those in possession of certain illegal pesticides to have them collected and professionally disposed of.

Amongst the other substances disposed of through the scheme were:

* 68 stocks of Strychnine

* 9 stocks of Mevinphos

* 8 stocks of Chloralose or AlphaChloralose

* 5 stocks of Aldicarb.

The scheme was run anonymously to encourage those in possession to come forward. However, the first half of the postcode for each collection was recorded. This showed that the highest number of collections were carried out in Aberdeenshire and Moray, the Highlands, Perthshire and the Scottish Borders.

Due to the anonymous nature of the scheme it is not known what types of premises the pesticides were collected from, or whether any of the substances collected had come from stocks which had been used for illegal poisoning in the past.

However, the Scottish Government and PAW Scotland stakeholders have welcomed the actions of those who have taken the responsible step of handing over these substances.

Dr Aileen McLeod, Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform said: “I am very pleased that this scheme has helped to safely remove a large volume of highly dangerous illegal pesticides from Scotland’s environment.

“The illegal poisoning of wildlife cannot and will not be tolerated in a modern Scotland. The Scottish Government has made tackling wildlife crime a priority. We have the strongest laws on wildlife crime in the UK, including vicarious liability, which was recently successfully used in the courts.

“While it is obviously a concern that these stocks were still out there, by removing them from circulation now we are removing any temptation for them to be illegally used in future.

“Nobody found in possession of these pesticides now can have any excuse for holding onto them.”

Andrew McCornick, Vice-President of NFU Scotland said: “NFU Scotland commends Scottish Government for establishing and funding this scheme. It has made a tangible difference by helping farmers and crofters dispose of chemicals that they knew were problematic but often didn’t know what to do with.

“NFU Scotland took pride in successfully administering the scheme and was delighted by the high uptake. Now that the scheme is closed, NFU Scotland encourages anyone who has chemicals that they wish to dispose of, to do so safely and legally. The Union will resolutely defend its members when they are unfairly targeted for legally carrying out their business, but it condemns anyone who commits any form of wildlife crime.”

Dr Colin Shedden, Director of BASC Scotland, said: “Illegal pesticides and the crimes associated with them are a blight on the Scottish countryside and those who live and work in it. This scheme has hopefully served to remove the last reserves of these illegal substances and with it any excuse for being in possession of them.

“The relative success of this scheme shows that land managers are responsible and will do all they can to minimise risk to themselves, the public and our wildlife.”

Douglas McAdam, Chief Executive of Scottish Land & Estates, said: “Scottish Land & Estates were a driving force in bringing forward the pesticide disposal scheme and are delighted that it has been successful in generating so many collections and hence removing so much illegal pesticide from circulation.

“Scottish Land & Estates condemn wildlife crime of all kinds but particularly poisoning which is indiscriminate and leads to a slow and painful death for animals and birds. We are fully behind the Minister in her statement that the illegal poisoning of wildlife cannot be tolerated in a modern Scotland.”

Ian Thomson, Head of Investigations at RSPB Scotland said: “We commend the work of the Scottish Government and the stakeholders involved in implementing this disposal scheme. It is indeed good news that this amount of illegal and dangerous pesticide has been removed from circulation.

“It is clear, however, from the number and distribution of incidents where chemicals such as carbofuran have been used to poison protected wildlife in recent years, that a number of individuals have held on to their stockpiles of these chemicals.

“We trust that this scheme represents a line in the sand, and that anyone now convicted of being in possession of or using such pesticides will face the strongest penalties available to the courts.”

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