Rewards on offer for reducing metaldehyde levels

Metaldehyde, used to control slugs, will be withdrawn from use by the end of June 2020
Metaldehyde, used to control slugs, will be withdrawn from use by the end of June 2020

Rewards are on offer for reducing metaldehyde levels in Severn Trent's water courses, and local arable farmers are being urged to join.

Farmers in priority catchments can sign up to the 2019 Farm to Tap scheme, which offers rewards of up to £5 per hectare for reducing metaldehyde levels in local water courses.

Given that metaldehyde slug pellets will be withdrawn from use by the end of June 2020, this is the last chance for farmers to receive financial rewards for metaldehyde reduction.

Announcing the move last year, Defra said 'metaldehyde poses an unacceptable risk to birds and mammals.'



Laura Flower, Severn Trent catchment management scientist, said metaldehyde is 'extremely difficult' and 'costly' to remove from water.

She said: “Signing up to Farm to Tap will not only provide financial support to farmers, successful applicants will be assigned an expert agricultural adviser, who will provide advice and resources to develop the best solution for each holding.



“To encourage all farmers in the area to join in with the effort to protect water, we’re offering a £100 bonus to those in catchments that have no metaldehyde exceedances over the drinking water standard of 0.1ppb during the period of testing,” Ms Flower added.

Despite the upcoming withdrawal of metaldehyde, Severn Trent said it is 'committed' to working with farmers by continuing with Farm to Tap after the 2019 season.

Future years are likely to focus on other pesticides that impact water quality.

Applications opened on 1 June and will close on 15 September 2019.