A report from the Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use UK (CRRU) reveals that 13,000 users of professional-use-only rat baiting products have now undergone training and have received certification. The proportion of certified gamekeepers rose from 37% in 2015 to 60% in 2017, while for professional pest controllers, the increase is from 96% to 98%.

April 2016 brought new restrictions on the use of anticoagulant rodenticides to protect unintentional wildlife poisoning. Usage is limited to those with professional training or who belong to a recognised assurance scheme.

In farming, there are now over 97,000 members of stewardship-approved assurance schemes. Dairy leads the sector, with 99% certification, followed by poultry, at 92%, and pigs, with 88% approved, arable at 84% and sheep with 79%. In addition, 23% of farmers have gained stewardship-certification, an increase from 19% in 2015.

Dr Alan Buckle, chair of CRRU UK, is cautiously optimistic, saying “There are promising early signs of things going in the right direction, but much remains to be done.” CRRU priorities for 2018 include independent audits of point of sale controls and a review of burrow baiting with new best practice guidelines; widespread use of a streamlined environmental risk assessment checklist before rodenticide baiting and the next round of stewardship monitoring procedures.

For more information, and to see the report, visit www.thinkwildlife.org/downloads.