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Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme

Report suspected incidents to 0800 321600 (calls are free)

Link to Quarterly Updates of all confirmed incidents in the UK

The Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme (the Scheme) makes enquiries into the death or illness of wildlife, pets and beneficial invertebrates that may have resulted from pesticide poisoning. The scheme has two objectives:

  • To provide information to the regulator on hazards to wildlife and companion animals and beneficial invertebrates from pesticides; and
  • To enforce the correct use of pesticides, identifying and penalising those who deliberately or recklessly misuse and abuse pesticides.

In practice “companion animals” usually refers to cats and dogs, and “beneficial invertebrates” refers to honeybees, bumble bees and earthworms. Also included in the Scheme are suspect baits, where it is thought that pesticides have been inappropriately applied or used, and spillages of pesticides where this poses a risk to wildlife or companion animals.

The Scheme is essentially a monitoring tool to inform the pesticide approval process. However, where there is clear evidence of a breach of pesticide law enforcement action may be taken.

Cases accepted for further investigation usually fall into one of the following categories:

  • Approved use - a pesticide is used in accordance with its conditions of authorisation;
  • Misuse – the product has not been used according to the conditions of its authorisation, but often just carelessly or accidently, without the intention of harming animals;
  • Abuse – a pesticide has been deliberately used in an illegal manner to poison, or to try to poison animals.

In some cases pesticides may be found but the origin of the substance is unclear and the cause of death will be unknown or unspecified.

How the Scheme works

Where poisoning is suspected, a combination of field work, veterinary examination and chemical analysis is used to try to determine the underlying cause of death. The Scheme is operated independently in all four countries of the United Kingdom using the same free phone number given above. Only the reporting of results is co-ordinated and reported here. Those organisations responsible for the investigation and enforcement of incidents are:

In England the Chemicals Regulation Directorate of Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has overall responsibility for the policy of the scheme which is run on HSE’s behalf by Natural England. The following pages provide details of the investigation procedures followed by Natural England and the vertebrate and invertebrate flowcharts provide a guide to the reporting and investigation process.

In Wales the scheme is run by the Welsh Government

In Scotland the Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA)

and in Northern Ireland the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development

Results of reported incidents

The results of enquiries made by the scheme in the UK are published.

From 2008 all results of enquiries in the UK are published Quarterly in a searchable spreadsheet.

Annual reports for 1998 to 2007 inclusive are available for download.

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