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Rules tightened on rodent poisons used in the open

Barn owls are among the species threatened by contamination from SGARs.

From 4 July it will be illegal to buy second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs) for use in open areas. It is designed to reduce SGAR contamination in barn owls, the sentinel species — which provides advance warning for risks — for non-target wildlife and other animals. 

From July, it will only be possible to buy SGARs — whose active ingredients are brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difenacoum, difethialone and flocoumafen — to treat a rodent infestation inside and around a building. 

There is currently no regulatory definition of a “building”, so the UK Rodenticide Stewardship annual report for the first time contains an explanation specific to rodent pest control of what constitutes a “building”. 

It defines a building as a permanent fixed structure that forms an enclosure, and provides protection from the elements, which can be used to exclude non-target animals and birds from taking baits placed inside. Such buildings are usually erected on foundations and constructed from wood, brick, concrete or metal. 

From January 2026, all buyers and users of professional rodenticide products will have to hold an approved training certificate. This means farmers and gamekeepers will require the same qualifications as pest control technicians.