by Countryside Alliance

This story first appeared on this website in February 2013 and gains further relevance by the granting of Emergency Authorisation in mid-May 2014 to ensure Asulam's use for the year: The Countryside Alliance has welcomed The Chemicals Regulation Directorate’s announcement this week that Emergency Authorisation for the continued use of Asulam for bracken control in 2013 has been approved. This move will bring relief to upland managers and the shooting community. In late September Countryside Alliance Executive Chairman Barney White-Spunner briefed Secretary of State for Defra Owen Paterson on Asulam on behalf of the Countryside Alliance and other interested bodies. This briefing prompted the Secretary of State to instruct his department to lodge the Emergency Authorisation to ensure Asulam can still be used. 

Asulam is the only viable bracken control spray on the market and has been banned by Europe; the Emergency Authorisation ensures it can still be used. Bracken is poisonous to livestock and kills other vegetation, particularly heather. It is one of the preferred habitats for the sheep tick, which can pass on many diseases, including louping ill. This affects grouse and can result in a 79% mortality rate in infected birds, which has a clear impact on grouse shooting. Bracken control is therefore of considerable importance to agriculture, biodiversity, landscape, recreation and sport, and consequently the rural economy.

There are restrictions and conditions on the Emergency Authorisation that will need to be closely followed*. The application for an Emergency Authorisation will then have to be repeated each year - either until Asulam has been re-registered, which is not expected to be until 2016 at the earliest, or there is an equally effective alternative available.

Countryside Alliance Executive Chairman Barney White-Spunner commented: “This is great news for our land managers and everyone who values our beautiful uplands. The important thing is that we continue to have a means of controlling bracken for a further year. The Countryside Alliance and its partner organisations have been staunch in their defence of Asulam and have been actively supporting the hard work of the Bracken Control Group to make the case for its use. We will continue to do that, buoyed up by this success.”


Notes to Editors..

The Bracken Control Group’s brief on Asulam can be viewed on the Countryside Alliance’s website.

* Conditions are as follows:
• An Emergency Authorisation has been granted for Asulam products for use on bracken only.
• Prior to May 20 and after September 16, Asulam may not be advertised, marketed or sold. Only advice on management and planning can be given to inform people.
• Bracken spraying may commence from July 1st until the end of the bracken control season.
• Aerial spraying licences can be applied from now on, but they will only be issued from May 20.
• From September 16th to 31st October existing stocks of Asulam may be used-up by land managers, stored and transferred. No further product may be sold or bought beyond September 16th.
• After October 31st it will be illegal to use or store Asulam products. Before this date, any stocks must be applied to the land, returned to the distributor or destroyed.
• An Emergency Authorisation will be applied for next year’s spraying season. There is no chance that storage will subsequently granted for excess stock of Asulam in readiness for next year.

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