Bracken Control: A Guide to Best Practice (SNH)

CONSENTS, CONSULTATION, AND NOTIFICATIONS

Legislation and Codes of Practice apply to the control of bracken in most circumstances. In some instances formal approval or consent is required, and in all instances consultation or notification may need to be undertaken. The sections below explain what is required in different circumstances, but their content is not a comprehensive statement of the law. Section A) deals with bracken control by any means on sites designated for their nature conservation interest, section B) deals with aerial spraying of bracken, and section C) deals with non-aerial application of herbicides near water.

Please note that, if you are applying for funding for a bracken management programme for habitat enhancement through the SRDP - Rural Priorities, some of these procedures may be dealt with through that application process. Your case officer will be able to advise on this.
 

A ) LAND DESIGNATED FOR ITS NATURE CONSERVATION INTEREST

If you want to carry out bracken control by any means within or affecting a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), and the proposed operation is an Operation Requiring Consent (ORC), you must apply for and obtain consent from SNH before carrying out the work. You can see the ORCs for SSSI at SiteLink www.snh.org.uk/snhi or you can obtain details from your local SNH office. Contact details for SNH’s offices can be found on www.snh.org.uk or from the SEARS contact number 08452 30 20 50. The law allows SNH up to 4 months to respond to applications for consent, and so you are strongly advised to submit your application as early as possible in order to avoid the possibility of spraying being delayed.

Additional assessment may be required if the area where bracken is to be controlled is within or close to a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) or Special Protection Area (SPA). This applies whether the site is also an SSSI or not.

If you plan to control bracken using aerial application of herbicide the requirements relating to designated sites will be dealt with through the application process referred to in B) below.

If you plan to control bracken on a designated site by other means, contact your local SNH office.
 

B ) AERIAL APPLICATION OF HERBICIDE FOR BRACKEN CONTROL.

SEPA must be consulted under the Control of Pesticides Regulations 1986 (as amended) not less than 72 hours before you intend to carry out aerial application of herbicides if this is to take place within 250 metres of water. There is no charge for this, and in practice consultation will be required for almost all aerial applications. The Application form for aerial application of herbicide for bracken control should be submitted to SEPA who will liaise with SNH and ScottishWater as appropriate. The form will be available online at www.sepa.org.uk and from SEPA offices. Contact details for SEPA’s offices can be found on www.sepa.org.uk or from the SEARS contact number 08452 30 20 50.

You are also required to consult SNH not less than 72 hours before you intend to carry out aerial application of herbicide, even if the land to be sprayed does not have any nature conservation designation on it, but is within 1500m of an SSSI. The application form for aerial application of herbicide for bracken control allows you to give SEPA authorisation to consult SNH where appropriate on your behalf. In order to allow your application to be given full consideration, you are strongly advised to submit it as early as possible (preferably 21 days in advance of the intended treatment). Remember that if the application relates to a site designated for its nature conservation interest there are special rules described in Section A above.

There are also other consultations and notifications which must be carried out if you carry out aerial spraying, as described in the table below.
 

ORGANISATION OR PERSON

WHEN YOU NEED TO CONSULT OR NOTIFY WHAT YOU MUST DO
Local Authority

When the area to be sprayed is within 1500m of a Local Nature Reserve (LNR)

Consult at least 72 hours before spraying

Local Authority Chief Environmental Health Officer

Always

Notify at least 24 hours and no more than 48 hours before spraying

Schools, Hospitals, and other institutions

When any flight path to be used in the operation is within 150m of the institution

Notify at least 24 hours and no more than 48 hours before spraying

Occupiers (or their agents) of neighbouring properties

When the area to be sprayed is within 25m of neighbouring property

Notify at least 24 hours and no more than 48 hours before spraying

Local beekeepers

When there is a local beekeepers’ spray warning scheme operating within the district

Notify the appropriate reporting point for the scheme at least 48 hours before spraying

 
C) NON-AERIAL APPLICATIONS OF HERBICIDES NEARWATER

If you are carrying out direct applications of herbicides into water bodies, or near water bodies where there is a significant risk of contaminating ground and/or surface water bodies (including land which may be susceptible to flooding), you must consult SEPA. Application form for non-aerial application of herbicides near water should be completed and submitted to SEPA 21 days in advance of commencing the herbicide treatment. The form will be available online at www.sepa.org.uk and from SEPA offices. Contact details for SEPA’s offices can be found on www.sepa.org.uk or from the SEARS contact number 08452 30 20 50. Further details are given on the form.

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