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Gardeners breaking EU law by deterring snails with coffee

Summary

Organic gardeners trying to protect their garden spaces with coffee granules have been told they are breaching EU laws, telegraph.co.uk reports.

Our Solution

Organic gardeners trying to protect their garden spaces with coffee granules have been told they are breaching EU laws, telegraph.co.uk reports. With Britain having one of its wettest summers to date, there has been an increase in numbers of slugs and snails. These garden pests enjoy eating cabbages and lettuces, prompting many gardeners to use coffee as a preventative measure. However, gardeners using coffee to put off slugs and snails have been told this is not allowed. The Royal Horticultural Society issued the warning in the Garden magazine, after being flooded with inquiries and told how people in breach of the rules could face heavy fines, reports independent.co.uk. The Society said that there is little chance rule-breakers would be arrested, but mentioned the guidelines are in place to stop people using home-made remedies in a dangerous manner. EU rules state that any active ingredient or chemical used to deter pests must be approved for use and placed on an approved list of pesticides. As neither coffee or caffeine has been through a UK or EU test for this purpose, its effect on the environment, garden creatures and the gardeners themselves is not known and is therefore not valid as a slug deterrent. Andrew Halstead, principal scientist for plant health at RHS, said that it was easier for EU to include chemicals that have been tested and approved as pesticides on a list, and enforce an overall ban on everything else, rather than produce a list of potentially dangerous ingredients.

Author:

Samantha Bartlett

31st August 2012