Check the Shed This Weekend, Gardeners Told

Article excerpt


Anyone caught with one of dozens of blacklisted poisons and sprays will be liable to prosecution under European health rules.

Packets and bottles bought innocently from B&Q, Homebase, Fisons, Levington, Woolworths and Asda are involved in the crackdown.

According to an EU review, some contain chemicals which could affect sexual development in humans and wildlife.

It was not clear to what extent local authorities would go to enforce the rules - such as searching sheds - but they have been told to 'keep their eyes open' for offenders.

The poisons were banned from use on January 1 - and from March 31 it will become illegal even to store them. Most contain chemicals used as weed and moss killers on lawns and for wiping out nettles.

Gardeners have been warned by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), not to pour the products down the sink or into drains as this is illegal because of the pollution risk.

The maximum fine for pesticide offences is [pounds sterling]5,000, according to the Pesticides Safety Directorate. However, the crackdown has caught some councils by surprise and they have no facility yet for disposing of the banned poisons.

Companies are changing the formulas of outlawed brands but many of the older banned products are thought to remain in sheds and garages.

Some stores have kept the old name for use on new products which do comply with the new rules. As a rough guide, anything purchased since July 24, 2003 should be legal.


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