The Ulster Farmers’ Union says it is disappointed that the Chemicals Regulations Directorate (CRD), which is part of the UK Health and Safety Executive, has rejected an emergency application for chlorpyrifos, a plant protection product (PPP) used to control leatherjackets.

Following an announcement earlier this year that authorisations for products containing chlorpyrifos would be annulled, the UFU in partnership with all the UK farming unions sought from the CRD an emergency 120 day authorisation for the use of Equity, a branded PPP widely used to control leatherjackets on grassland during the autumn months. The CRD rejected this application.

Commenting on this decision UFU President, Barclay Bell said that farmers now have ‘no effective way’ of tackling problems in grassland created by these crane fly larvae.

“We are very disappointed our application was rejected. For years farmers have safely used PPPs such as Dursban WG and Equity to control a wide range of grassland pests. We had requested limited and controlled access to use chlorpyrifos with robust safeguards for human health,” he said.

Bell said that the removal of chlorpyrifos will see the farmer’s toolbox left empty, creating challenges for not only for farmers but for local councils and gardeners.

“Farmers rely on PPPs to meet the challenge of sustainably producing food. We are well aware of the impact this will have across Northern Ireland. Because we need effective PPPs we will continue to explore other options,” said Bell.