Thursday 25 December 2014

New poison controls in bid to save birds of prey

Sam Griffin

Published 19/08/2014 | 02:30

A NEW licensing system governing the use of pesticides has been welcomed by the group behind the re-introduction of birds prey into Ireland.

It is the first time such licences have been issued and the system will clamp down on unqualified technicians putting down pesticides, according to the Irish Pest Control Association (IPCA), which has introduced the scheme.

Under the licensing system, anyone who wishes to obtain a licence must be able to prove they have completed extensive training in the area of using poisons.

Successful applicants will then be placed on a register and licence-holders will have to engage in continual training to renew their licence every two years.

The IPCA's Brendan Ryan said it was "miraculous" there had not been serious injuries or fatalities as result of untrained people buying, storing, transporting and delivering "highly toxic chemicals without a scintilla of regulation or control.

"We are talking about highly toxic chemicals. In their concentrated form, they could do untold damage. A substantial level of training and expertise is required. That's what this is all about," he told the Irish Independent.

"Some products need to be diluted and that requires a good deal of training to decide on the level of diluting and the application of it. Licensed people will now be required to carry out risk assessments of any environment, for example."

Those seeking a licence must apply to an independent training and certification committee which is chaired by a qualified biologist. The system is 
not legally binding yet but the IPCA says it could act as a pre-cursor to statutory requirements.

The system has been welcomed by the Golden Eagle Trust, which is responsible for the re-introduction of eagles and red kites into Ireland. Nine red kites were killed by rodenticides in 2011.

Dr Marc Ruddock, the trust's red kite project manager, said kites are more susceptible to irresponsible rodenticide usage.

"Kites tend to be more exposed than the other birds because they scavenge. They eat an awful lot of dead rats. There have been four or five incidents since 2011 where dead kites have also contained rodenticides," he said.

"We felt that on the ground there was a general lack of understanding of how to use them among a variety of users. Anything that improves the understanding and usage is beneficial."

Irish Independent

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