Time is running out to use illegal pesticides scheme

SASA Bird of Prey poisoning.'Carbofuran the most common poison detected in  poisoning.

SASA Bird of Prey poisoning.'Carbofuran the most common poison detected in poisoning.

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The scheme to get rid of illegal pesticides which could be used to poison wildlife will close on May 29.

The pesticides disposal scheme allows those who know, or suspect they are in possession of certain pesticides which are illegal, to dispose of them safely and confidentially.

To date, more than 80 requests for collection and disposal have already been accepted through the scheme. The most common requests have been for Sodium Cyanide and Strychnine.

There have also been five requests for disposal of Mevinphos, which has been banned since the early 1990s and five requests for disposal of Carbofuran, with more than 80kg accepted for collection so far.

Announcing the closure, environment minister Dr Aileen McLeod said: “Since it was launched on February 23, the pesticides disposal scheme has resulted in the removal of some extremely dangerous substances from our environment. By helping to dispose of them now, we are ensuring these stocks can never be used in the future to illegally target Scotland’s wildlife.

“I would encourage people to carefully and safely check sheds and outbuildings for old stocks of illegal substances. If you are, or think you may be, in possession of illegal pesticides, I strongly encourage you to phone the disposal scheme line before it closes on May 29.

“Tackling wildlife crime is a key priority for the Scottish Government. We have the strongest wildlife legislation in the UK, and in the last few months we have seen the first ever custodial sentence for the killing of birds of prey and the first conviction of a land owner under the vicarious liability provisions, for crimes committed in 2012.

“Arrangements are also in place for SNH to restrict the use of general licences where there is evidence of wildlife crime. I believe this sends out a clear message to those who continue to illegally target Scotland’s wildlife that their actions will not be tolerated.”

Rob Livesey, vice-president of NFU Scotland, said: “It is imperative that any farmer and crofter with one of these products acts now to get it disposed of free of charge and anonymously via the scheme.

“We understand that it is a very busy time of year, but it would be great to see a surge of enquiries during the last month so that as much is taken out of circulation as possible. Don’t delay, call today.”

Dr Colin Shedden, director of BASC Scotland, said: “Nobody has any reason or right to possess any of the pesticides covered by this disposal scheme.

“It is in the interest of everyone’s safety, including those who even suspect that they might have banned pesticides, to get in touch and arrange the safe and free disposal afforded by this scheme.”

Borders gamekeeper Alex Hogg, chairman of the Scottish Gamekeepers Association, added: “This has been a very worthwhile scheme, as the take-up proves. It is likely there are people out there who, until now, have had no way of identifying or safely disposing of chemicals which should no longer be held. We hope even more pesticides are collected before this month’s deadline.”