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Sheep Dip Licences

13th July 2006

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) is receiving enquiries from farmers in relation to the marketing suspension of cypermethrin, also known as synthetic pyrethroid (SP), dip and is being asked whether charges still apply for them holding a licence to dispose of waste dip whilst these products cannot be sold.

SEPA's position is that the annual charges still apply.

This is because SEPA is required to carry out on-going monitoring of groundwater as well as routine inspections of sites where waste sheep disposal is authorised, these are requirements of the EC Groundwater Directive. Alternative products are available, although SEPA understands the concerns over human health that some farmers may have in using these.

Rob Morris, SEPA's Land Policy Unit Manager said, "Protection of the environment
is at the forefront of SEPA's decision making, so, regrettably, it is not possible to put our monitoring and enforcement responsibilities on hold, in light of the marketing suspension. SEPA does understand the sense of frustration felt at incurring charges when alternative products to SP dips are not considered suitable for the individual or farm concerned."

"Farmers need to be aware that if they were to request a revocation of their licence and then reapply next year, they would incur an application fee. It may therefore be better for them financially to hold onto the existing licence for the time being."

SEPA continues to stress the potential harm that can be caused by sheep dip chemicals, especially SP dips in rivers, and remains committed to working with
the sheep industry to ensure best practice is followed.

SEPA, the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) and Environment Agency for England and Wales have this week issued a public notice stressing the need to use any existing supplies of SP dip with care and in accordance with veterinary medicines and environmental legislation.

Manufacturers of sheep dip chemicals are aware of the environmental concerns here and have an obligation to equip farmers with the information they need to effectively treat their animals and prevent harm to the environment.

Farmers need also to remember that, Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform cross-compliance requires, those who dip, to ensure that a valid authorisation exists for the disposal of any waste dip and that this licence is complied with.

The Public Notice from SEPA Is as follows

Use of cypermethrin sheep dip products following the suspension of their marketing authorisations

The suspension of the marketing authorisations for the three cypermethrinbased sheep dip products did not require the recall of products supplied to agricultural merchants and other authorised retailers before the date of suspension 22 February 2006. Thus it is still legal to purchase and use those stocks. Farmers who decide to use any of the existing stocks of the cypermethrin sheep dip products must remember that, although cypermethrin is effective against sheep ectoparasites, it is also extremely toxic to aquatic life. The dip must therefore be used and disposed of with the utmost care and
in accordance with the label instructions. Farmers or their contractors must:
not allow any sheep dip to run off directly into a drain, ditch, stream,
river or any other surface water;
not allow sheep access to watercourses when the dip is still wet on the
only dispose waste sheep dip to land under an Authorisation issued by
the relevant environment agency.

Sheep farmers are reminded that it is an offence to pollute watercourses and in the event of pollution being caused, offenders may be liable to prosecution. During 2005, pollution incidents involving sheep dips attracted fines of up to 38,000.

Only cypermethrin approved for use as a veterinary medicine is suitable for the treatment of ectoparasitic infestations of sheep. Retailers, farmers and contractors are reminded that it is illegal to sell or use arable cypermethrin products for the treatment of sheep. Any misuse of arable cypermethrin products in this regard is likely to result in prosecution.

Guidance on the safe use is available in the Prevention of Environmental Pollution from Agricultural Activity (PEPFAA) Code in Scotland and for England and Wales, the Defra Groundwater Protection Code: Use and Disposal of Sheep Dip Compounds.

July 2006


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