Chemical firm to challenge metaldehyde ban in the High Court

A UK chemical supplier has said it will challenge a recent Defra decision to ban metaldehyde slug pellet products in the High Court.

Chiltern Farm Chemicals, one of the UK’s largest suppliers of molluscicides, has this week, been granted permission to bring a judicial review of the decision before the High Court, with the view to declare the ban as unlawful.

The news of the withdrawal was announced in December 2018, with sales to cease by the end of this month, and with a use-up period to the end of June 2020.

The ban was met with shock and disappointment, coming after officials at the CRD (Chemicals Regulation Division) had proposed in 2015 that essential uses of metaldehyde could continue in conjunction with a form of stewardship programme.

The approved stewardship programme was launched by the MSG (Metaldehyde Stewardship Group) in 2017.

This programme introduced new buffer zone requirements, promoted reduced usage and the adoption of Integrated Pest Management.

Metaldehyde ban timeline

December 19, 2018: Environment Secretary, Michael Gove announces metaldehyde products will not be re-registered for use or sale;

June 30, 2019: Final date for sale and distribution of metaldehyde slug pellets;

June 30, 2020: Final date for the disposal, storage and use up of existing stocks of metaldehyde slug pellets.

The Secretary of State rejected a formal request to extend these expiry dates on April 11, 2019.

Chiltern’s director Philip Tavener explained that the High Court has reviewed the case and observed that three grounds put forward had a realistic prospect of success.

The Court ruled that the High Court hearing should take place ‘as soon as possible after 5 July 2019’.

“We hope that this legal challenge will have a positive result for the industry,” he said.

We are seeking to quash the re-registration decision, which will mean it has to be reconsidered afresh.

Tavener added that 21 other EU member states continue to have access to metaldehyde products.