The herbicide asulox (asulam) has been approved via Emergency Authorisation for bracken control in England in 2023.

Application of the chemical will be authorised from July 1, until September 11, after which spraying cannot take place.

However, to avoid interaction with breeding birds, it is recommend that application take place after August 1, or as late in July as possible.

The deadline for storage and disposal of stocks is October 27, after which it will be illegal to hold stocks of asulox; unopened containers will be accepted by distributors.

Emergency authorisation

Aerial application using low-drift nozzles has been included in the authorisation, subject to an aerial spraying permit. An Aerial Spray Permit is required for each job and application forms can be found on the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE’s) website.

Ground-based application has been authorised for conservation areas only, which have a statutory conservation designation.

There is no change to the no-spray buffer zones included in previous authorisations. Further drift trails will take place in 2023.

Further details on application specification can be obtained from the Bracken Control Group – the Emergency Authorisation holder.

The full Emergency Authorisation will be published on the website of the Chemicals Regulation Division of the HSE.

Bracken control

This Emergency Authorisation is for England only; a decision as to its allowed use in the rest of the UK has yet to be announced.

Just last week Scottish farming and land organisations called on the Scottish government to “urgently” approve the chemical for bracken control.

Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf had recently emphasised that Scotland was waiting on other governments to respond to the HSE before it could issue a UK-wide authorisation.