A PLANT nursery has apologised and stopped selling a slug poison that will be banned in a few months after putting up a sign urging shoppers to “stock up”.
The Doff Slug Killer product will become illegal to sell in June under a government ban to protect garden birds, wildlife and water sources from being poisoned by the key ingredient, metaldehyde.
But at Everton Nurseries, off Christchurch Road in Everton, the substance was being promoted on the shelf as “the most effective slug killer” that “sadly” would no longer be available later in the summer.
The message was flagged up by the New Forest Friends of the Earth group which tweeted: “Really, Everton Nurseries? ‘Sadly’?
“Don’t you know these slug pellets kill entire food chain from slugs up, including hedgehogs, birds? Do not advise ‘please stock up’. So irresponsible!”
The nursery later said sorry online and blamed a “junior member of staff” for what it described as an “ill-advised attempt to promote sales”.
The sign beneath the shelves holding the product said: “Sadly, the most effective slug killer, metaldehyde, will no longer be available for sale after 30th June 2019, so please stock up.
“It will be legal to use the slug killer in your gardens until at least spring 2020.”
The nursery posted a personal apology from director Simon Collyer on Saturday evening on its Facebook page.
Mr Collyer said: “The sign displayed was made by a junior member of staff and was an ill-advised attempt to promote sales.
“It was done without reference to the centre manager. We agree that it was completely wrong to promote the sale of product shortly to be made illegal.
“All units of the product and associated signage have been removed from the shelves and Everton Nurseries will no longer offer it for sale.
“We offer an unreserved apology for the anxiety this may have caused to you.”
The decision to pull the Doff Slug Killer off the shelves was welcomed by New Forest Friends of the Earth coordinator Fiona Rogers.
She said: “It was regrettable that such a well-respected local firm made such an error of judgement but they put it right and that’s all that we wanted.
“We’re very pleased that they have taken the action they did, and as far as we are concerned that’s the end of it.”
The metaldehyde ban was announced in December last year by environment secretary Michael Gove, following advice from the UK Expert Committee on Pesticides and the Health and Safety Executive.
In a phased withdrawal, it will be illegal in June to sell the product for outdoor distribution, and its use will be fully banned 12 months later.
Defra suggested alternative pesticides containing ferric phosphate which, it said, provide effective control of slugs and snails without the risks to wildlife.