The decision to prohibit the use of metaldehyde was announced in September 2020, following the advice from the UK Expert Committee on Pesticides (ECP) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) about the risks that metaldehyde poses to birds and mammals. The ban on metaldehyde is applicable to all users, across the whole of Great Britain and was phased over an 18 month period to give growers time to switch to alternative measures.
From 1st April 2022 it will be illegal to sell and use metaldehyde products.
Pesticides containing ferric phosphate are authorised for the control of slugs on a range of crops and in gardens and do not pose the same risks to wildlife and the environment. Ferric phosphate is a relatively insoluble iron salt and is available in slug baits in strengths of 1% (amateur products) and 3% (professional products). The remainder comprises filler such as bran and wheat. As a result, iron poisoning is not common from ferric phosphate slug baits, unless a large quantity has been ingested or the animal is small, but gastrointestinal signs may occur.
Alternatively, other pesticide-free methods of pest control include selective timing irrigation and harvest as well as slug resistant crop varieties.