Archive for the ‘Latest updates’ Category



Provision of expertise and input into current STC projects, with a focus on machinery / technology solutions to overcome barriers associated with adoption of polycultural cropping systems in a European context

Date: 16th January 2020

Details:         STC has been participating in the DIVERSify project, funded through Horizon 2020, to investigate the potential of precision agriculture to help realise polycultural production in modern, high-yielding agriculture in a European context. As part of this, work has been undertaken identify perceived and realised practical barriers. A single subcontractor is now being sought to provide expertise and input at the interface between precision agricultural technology / machinery and scientific research, and to ensure translation into scientific outputs, through the following tasks:

  • Work with STC to ensure that data gathering activities undertaken are formalised, in line with existing project templates and in accordance with project guidelines.
  • Undertake discussions with a range of stakeholders, in particular specialists and machinery manufacturers, to identify machinery solutions to overcome practical barriers identified as part of earlier work in the project. This activity may necessitate travel.
  • Translate expertise and outcomes of discussions into scientific outputs required by the project and in line with existing reporting procedures – in particular, successful delivery of this task must include:
    • Conclusion of discussions and generation of a milestone report by 20th March 2020.
    • Generation of a ‘Trouble-Shooting Matrix’ and associated report using information and data gathered for the task (see above) by 9th September 2020.
  • Provision of time for the above tasks, and to advise/comment on the development of scientific outputs through their review process (expected to be completed by 30th September 2020).
  • Provision of links to major precision agriculture providers as potential beneficiaries of the knowledge obtained during the project, and potential providers of solutions to barriers to polyculture uptake (see above).

For further information on exactly what will be required to fulfil the sub-contracting role being offered, please contact a member of the STC Project Team (see below).

Contact:       Dr Jennifer Banfield-Zanin, Project Manager (Entomology & Sustainability), Stockbridge Technology Centre, Cawood, York YO8 3TZ.

Telephone: +44 (0) 1757 268275


Deadline for submissions: 30th January 2020

EIP-AGRI Workshop Cropping for the future

EIP-AGRI Workshop Cropping for the future: networking for crop rotation and crop diversification FINAL REPORT DECEMBER 2019

Please copy and paste the below link into your browser:



Northern Chartered Institute of Horticulture Dates for the Diary – Northern Branch

Wednesday 27th November, 7 for 7.30pm. Talk: Charles Lane, FERA. Biosecurity & Plants, Askham Bryan College Conference Centre

In readiness for the UN International Year of Plant Health in 2020, we are delighted to welcome Charles to speak to members and friends on this topical subject.

Suggested donations of £5 to go to Charles’ nominated charity of CMM Sisters of Africa.


Thursday 5th December, 1-4pm. Visit: Plant Health Laboratories, FERA, Sand Hutton, York

Following on from Charles’ talk in November, we are being shown around by new CIoH member Ginette Alexander (Mycology Diagnostician) and the Plant Health team at the Food & Environment Research Labs.

This event is free, but because of security at government facilities, you MUST book a place beforehand, and please bring photographic ID.


Tues 21st-Thurs 23rd January 2020 – British Turf Management Exhibition (BTME), Harrogate International Conference Centre, Harrogate. Network meeting

We plan to have a members meet up at this FREE trade show. Details to follow.


Wednesday 29th January 2020, 9-4pm. Conference: Horticulture Conference. Askham Bryan College Conference Centre

ABC’s fourth annual horticulture conference, with a number of guest speakers and stands from industry partners including the National Trust, Johnson’s of Whixley and the RHS. The conference is arranged for students, and we hold our Young Hort of the Year heat during the day, but CIoH members are welcome to attend for a nominal £5 charge. If you have a business that would like to exhibit, please contact Sarah.


CIoH Branded Items

Following requests from members, and positive feedback from visitors to the Harrogate Autumn Flower Show Advice Stand, where we wore pale blue branded polo shirts, we have sourced a small range of branded items, which will be launched at the November talk.



We are fortunate enough to have a growing number of student members in the Northern branch, who from time to time ask for mentoring advice. If you are happy to take a phone call or email from a member who is starting their career, please let us know. Thanks to Ian & Sue Barnes (Barnes Associates) and Clive Parker (Amey) who have already volunteered advice to young arborists.

Please book your places on these by calling Sarah Owen-Hughes on 01904 772277 ext1116 

National Food Strategy – Call for Evidence

On 27 June, Defra’s Secretary of State commissioned Henry Dimbleby to conduct an independent review to help the government create its first National Food Strategy for 75 years.

The purpose of the review is to address the environmental and health problems caused by our food system, to ensure the security of our food supply, and to maximise the benefits of the coming revolution in agricultural technology.

The National Food Strategy will examine activity across several departments of state, building on the flagship Agriculture Bill and Fisheries Bill currently before Parliament, the Industrial Strategy, the Childhood Obesity Plan and the upcoming Environment Bill.

Withdrawal of outdoor uses of metaldehyde overturned following legal challenge

30 July 2019                                                                     


Metaldehyde slug pellet ban overturned following legal challenge

In an unprecedented move, the decision by the former Secretary of State for the Environment to ban metaldehyde slug pellet products has been declared unlawful.

The High Court has approved an order, agreed this week by the company that’s challenged the legality of the ban, that formally overturns the December 2018 Defra ruling to withdraw all products containing metaldehyde, with immediate effect.

“Metaldehyde is back on the market and we’ve reverted to where we were eight months ago,” confirms Philip Tavener of Chiltern Farm Chemicals who took the legal action to bring Michael Gove’s decision before the High Court.  “The sell-out and use-up periods previously put in place no longer apply; it’s business as usual.  Chiltern is ensuring that supplies of metaldehyde slug pellets will be available with immediate effect from their normal distribution channels.”

He explains that the legal basis of Defra’s withdrawal decision required the former Secretary of State for the Environment, Michael Gove to form his own view on the impact of the metaldehyde products on non-target species, but he did not do so. “A few days before a hearing was due to take place in the High Court, the government conceded that its decision-making process was flawed. The decision was unlawful.”

Chiltern Farm Chemicals, one of the largest suppliers of molluscicides in the UK, disputes the environmental impact of its products on non-target species. “We have been working with the industry for over 10 years, as part of the Metaldehyde Stewardship Group (MSG), to steward the responsible use of these products.

“In 2017 an enhanced MSG stewardship programme, that had been approved by officials at the CRD (Chemicals Regulation Division), was launched and introduced new buffer zone requirements, promoted reduced usage and the adoption of Integrated Pest Management.”

He adds that retaining metaldehyde in the market removes the industry’s dependency on a single slug control solution and provides farmers and householders alike with an important, reliable and trusted treatment for controlling the arable and garden sector’s most damaging pest.

Taking the metaldehyde status back to pre 19 December 2018, the Court’s order confirms that the applications for product re-authorisation remain outstanding, and Defra are required to decide afresh as to whether to grant re-authorisation for the products or to revoke the existing authorisations, in accordance with Article 46 of the EC Regulation.



For more information contact: Catherine Linch, Pinstone E: T: 07850 802799. Please note that, after 2 August 2019, Catherine will be on annual leave. Enquiries should be directed to Helen Maiden T: 01568 617623 / 07890 097906

About Chiltern Farm Chemicals Limited

Chiltern Farm Chemicals Limited was established in 1980 and is a producer of metaldehyde slug pellets for both the agricultural and home garden markets in the UK.  Chiltern specialises in pellets containing low doses of metaldehyde.  Having introduced the first low dose 1.5% metaldehyde pellet to the UK market in 2002, Chiltern decided in 2011 to sell only 1.5% pellets from then on.

Further information:

21 other EU member states continue to have access to metaldehyde products.

The ban had been announced by the Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, on 19 December 2018, stating that metaldehyde products will not be re-registered for use or sale.

Formerly the withdrawal dates announced were:

30 June 2019 – Final date for sale and distribution of metaldehyde slug pellets

30 June 2020 – Final date for the disposal, storage and use up of existing stocks of metaldehyde slug pellets

These dates do no longer apply.