News Items



Knowledge Scotland briefing

New system for approving aerial spraying

Can pigs control bracken?

Asulam Ban in force


25 June 2016: Bracken: Frond or foe? - 12 July 2016, Dinnet, Aberdeenshire. This event is being organised by the Cairngorms National Park Authority and will include some short presentations followed by equipment demonstrations.  I am giving one of the presentations on behalf of the Bracken Control Group and PDG will be providing a helicopter demonstration.  See the flyer for more details and how to apply.  Priority will be given to people from the National Park. 

24 June 2016: Events to demonstrate the ability of the Brielmaier range of equipment to cut and manage bracken are being organised for early September in different parts of the UK.  I will provide more details, when known, but if anyone is interested, let me know.

26 April 2016: The Emergency Authorisation for the 2016 season has been issued.  See the Asulam page for details. 

15 March 2016: Asulam will be available to purchase soon after the start of the Emergency Authorisation period on 16 May 2016  and it will be possible to apply it in the period 1 July - 31 October.  Details of the application are available on the Asulam page.

14 September 2015: The end of the Emergency Authorisation period.  A use-up period authorises the storage and application of asulam, and the return of any unopened containers to the manufacturer through your distributor.  From 1 November 2015, it will be illegal to hold any supplies of Asulam. For further background see the HT Blog and the Asulam section of this website.

18 August 2015: A German company will be demonstrating machinery that can cut bracken on steep slopes and it can also be operated by remote control.  Further details of four demonstration events being held in late August & early September are available from the Heather Trust's Blog.

27 January 2015: A meeting of statutory nature conservation bodies, and others with related interests such as the heritage environment, was organised by Natural England, in York, to consider the control of bracken on designated sites in the current regulatory climate.

The meeting also discussed the trial work that is taking place to assess the value of other chemicals that might have some potential for controlling bracken in sensitive areas, such as on archaeological sites, where other techniques might not be appropriate.

UPL Europe Ltd explained about the application for registration of asulam under the current regulations and provided an encouraging assessment of the progress towards re-registration of the active ingredient for 2017.

The coordinator was unable to attend the meeting due to an attack of plague, but he gave a presentation by phone that set out the role of the Bracken Control Group.  This is available to download here.

21 November 2014:  Asulam will be available for bracken control in 2015.  

The wording of a Notice of Authorisation for the 2015 season has been agreed with the Chemicals Regulation Directorate, which is identical to previous Notices, apart from the start and finish dates.

See the Asulam Page for full details.

1 November 2014: End of the use-up period for Asulam.  Holding of a stock of Asulam is no longer authorised.

16 September 2014: Representatives of the Bracken Control Group met near York.  The draft application for an Emergency Authorisation for the use of asulam in 2015 was approved.  The application was submitted, after some amendment, on 29 September.

15 September 2014: This is the end of the 120-day period for the Emergency Authorisation that has allowed asulam to be available in 2014.  It is no longer possible to sell or transfer asulam. Users now have until 31 October to: apply their stocks of asulam to bracken, to return unopened containers to distributors or to dispose of any stocks in accordance with current regulations.

After 31 October, it will be illegal to hold any asulam.

10 July 2014: UPL has announced that asulam will be available in 5 litre packs later in July.  See the latestNewsletter for more details about this, and other issues.

1 July 2014: The application of asulam for bracken control can start.

Nicholas Hawkings-Byass20 March 2014:  It is with great regret that the death is announced of Nicholas Hawkings-Byass, on Friday, 7th March.

Nicholas developed MFH Helicopters into the leading aerial application contractor in the UK and was well-known throughout the country for his work on bracken control.  He will be sadly missed as an enthusiast for bracken control and as a driving force in the aerial application industry.  Without his dogged determination it is unlikely that the business of aerial application of pesticides and herbicides would have survived recent challenges.  Those who continue to use a helicopter to apply asulam are in his debt.  Our sympathies are with his family.

30 May 2014: For contact details of bracken control contractors, see the documents page.

19 May 2014: The Emergency Authorisation to cover the use of asulam for the 2014 has been issued.  See the documents page for details.

11 September 2013:  Asulam will be available again for the bracken control season in 2014.

 Notice of Authorisation for the 2014 season has been agreed with the Chemicals Regulation Directorate, which is identical to the 2013 Notice apart from the slight difference in start and finish dates.

See the Newsletter published on 11 September for full details.


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28 April 2016: the newsletter announces the details Emergency Authorisation for 2016, updates contractors and highlights the loss of 'grandfather rights'.

20 May 2015: the newsletter announces the granting of the Emergency Authorisation for 2015, and provides details for the use of asulam. 

 10 July 2014: the newsletter announces the reinstatement of the 5 litre pack size and provides other information. 

19 May 2014: the newsletter provides details of the Emergency Authorisation and the label that will apply for the 2014 season.

11 September 2013: the sixteenth newsletter   announces that asulam will be available for the 2014 season.

9 August 2013: the application for an emergency authorisation for 2014 has been submitted - details are available in the fifteenth newsletter.

9 July 2013: view the latest update in the fourteenth newsletter.

 7 June 2013:  the thirteenth newsletter provides a useful key dates summary of emergency authorisation.

15 April 2013 the twelfth newsletter provides information on the key terms and conditions of the authorisation, asulam availability in 2013, a summary of key dates and a link to the minutes from the sector representatives meeting held on 26 February.

26 February 2013:  a Newsletter, the eleventh, was issued to make the initial announcement about the approval of the application for an Emergency Authorisation.

21 December 2012:  the tenth newsletter provided an update on the progress of the application for an Emergency Authorisation.

2 December 2012  The ninth newsletter reminds users of the 31 December deadline for disposal of asulam products and updates on the Emergency Authorisation.

17 October 2012.  The eighth newsletter refers to coverage on the BBC Farming Today programme, disposal, emergency authorisation and a forthcoming presentation to the British Crop Production Council.

28 September 2012 The seventh newsletter refers to coverage on BBC Radio Wales and provides an update on the Emergency Authorisation process.  

17 August 2012.  The sixth newsletter contains an update on the current situation and comes at the end of the bracken spraying season.

11 June 2012 The fifth newsletter contains an update from the meeting of representatives held in Manchester

27 January 2012.  The fourth newsletter contains a link to the guidance for the application for an Emergency Authorisation that the group will be submitting in January 2013 to allow the use of asulam for bracken control after the end of the use-up period.

23 December 2011.  The third newsletter contains an update on the list of representatives and further information about the development of the Group.

24 November 2011 The second newsletter was published and it provided an update on the formation of the Group.  It can be viewed here.

24 October 2011 The first newsletter was published.  It contained the initial announcement of the formation of the Bracken Control Group.  It can be viewed here. 

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Knowledge Scotland briefing

Bracken and the Asulam Ban

See the Research & Information page.

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New system for approving aerial spraying

A new permit system was introduced in June 2012. Full details are available to download.

The message for landowners and land managers is clear:

  • apply early to avoid delays that might result from the introduction of the new system.  
  • contact an aerial spraying contractor as soon as possible. 


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Can pigs control bracken?

Miniature pigs are being offered to control bracken in Cumbria.  See the article from the Westmoreland Gazette for more information.

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Asulam Ban in force

The  ban came into force on 31 December 2011 and from 1 January 2012 it is illegal to sell, supply, transfer or promote any product containing asulam.  The most common product is Asulox, produced by United Phospohrus Ltd., but there are other products available that contain asulam.

The use up period will run from 1 January until 31 December 2012.  From 1 January 2013, it will be illegal to store or to apply asulam, and therefore all stocks of asulam must be used or destroyed before the end of this period.

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