beta

You're viewing our new website - find out more

News

Pesticides Disposal Scheme

Published: 9 Sep 2015 10:56

Results of scheme published.

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.

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.

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.

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."

Alex Stoddart, Director of the Scottish Association for Country Sports said:

"The Scottish Association for Country Sports joins our partner organisations and the Scottish Government in welcoming the success of the pesticides disposal scheme. This has enabled the safe removal of significant quantities of old and hazardous pesticides from a bygone era. SACS and its members condemn all forms of wildlife crime within all industries and sectors and support this endeavour by the Minister, Aileen McLeod."

Scottish Gamekeepers Association Chairman Alex Hogg said:

"What has been achieved is very encouraging. There is no place in modern Scotland for illegal poisons and all PAW Scotland partners deserve credit for what is a tangible and positive result."

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."

Notes to editors

This disposal scheme was launched as a result of a number of high profile bird of prey poisoning incidents in late 2013 and early 2014.

Pesticides were collected by SEPA-approved waste disposal operators and transported to approved facilities for safe disposal.

The following table shows the total number of stocks, and estimated total weights of each pesticide type collected.

Pesticide (Active Ingredient)

Stocks Collected

Percentage of all stocks collected

Total Estimated Weight (kg)

Sodium Cyanide

110

47.6%

482

Strychnine

68

29.4%

5

Aluminium Phosphide

17

7.4%

44

Carbofuran

10

4.3%

107

Mevinphos

9

3.9%

29

(Alpha)Chloralose

8

3.5%

8

Aldicarb

5

2.2%

30

Unknown

4

1.7%

16

Totals

231

722

Carbofuran has been the most commonly used poison in bird of prey persecution incidents in recent years, and has also resulted in the poisoning of other wildlife, pets and working animals. Sodium Cyanide powder produces a lethal toxic gas when it reacts with moisture, posing a threat to humans and animals, including badgers who have been illegally targeted in their setts.

Carbosulfan, Isofenphos and certain banned Bendiocarb products were also included in the scheme. However, no confirmed requests were received for any of these pesticide types.

This table shows a breakdown of collections fulfilled by postcode area.

Abbreviated Postcode

Regions covered by this postcode area

Number of Collections

AB

Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Moray

31

PH

Perth & Kinross, Highlands, Angus

24

IV

Highland, Moray

23

TD

Scottish Borders, East Lothian

18

KY

Fife, Perth & Kinross

16

DG

Dumfries & Galloway

14

KA

East, North & South Ayrshire

12

PA

Renfrewshire, Inverclyde, Argyll & Bute

10

FK

Falkirk, Stirling, Clackmannanshire, Fife

10

DD

Dundee, Angus

9

EH

East, West & Mid Lothian, Edinburgh

9

KW

Highland, Orkney

6

ML

North & South Lanarkshire

6

G

Glasgow, Stirling, East Renfrewshire, South Lanarkshire, Argyll & Bute

3

Total

191