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Latest Newsletters

  • 23 Jul 2021
    Bracken Control Group - update 23 July 2021

    I hope that the current spell of good (if hot) weather has allowed a good start to be made with bracken control programmes.

    Asulam Records

    Please may I remind those who are applying Asulam of the need to provide a completed record form. This is available in the information provided by the distributors with supplies of Asulam, but it is also available from the BCG website -

    This information is required to support the next application for an Emergency Authorisation, which is due to be submitted at the end of October. Without accurate records to support the application, it is much less likely that a further approval will be granted.

    Distributors are asked to ensure that every purchaser of Asulam understands the need to provide this information. Aerial and ground-based contractors are asked to ensure that they agree with their clients who will complete the record forms.

    Research & Trials

    Drift trails are in progress and will be completed on the North York Moors in the next few weeks. The trials aim to allow a decision about the required width of aerial spraying buffer zone to be made based on up-to-date evidence.

    The monitoring of the sites that formed the National Bracken Trials will be completed this summer. A scientific paper is in preparation to provide details to other researchers.

    Trials to compare the application of Asulam and Amidosulfuron products will be taking place on the North York Moors in the next few weeks. These trials will provide evidence to inform the review of the use of chemical bracken control using both aerial and ground-based application techniques.

    Trials to establish the impact of Asulam and Amidosulfuron products on young trees are in progress.

    Natural England is working with the other UK conservation agencies to provide some of the data required by the regulators. UPL Europe Ltd is providing other information. With the data from the application records, this information will be collated to support the next application for an Emergency Authorisation, which is due to be submitted at the end of October.


    Consideration is being given to holding a strategic meeting in September to review the requirements for bracken control in the UK. If this takes place, the outcomes from the meeting will be used to support the application for a further Emergency Authorisation.

    It is likely that a (virtual?) meeting will be held for BCG Sector representatives, in the second half of October, to consider and approve the EA application.


    Any comments about the contents of this newsletter or feedback about bracken control programmes (and photos?) will be welcome.

  • 10 Jun 2021
    Asulam Emergency Authorisation Approved

    An approval to use Asulam, subject to the terms of an Emergency Authorisation, has been granted.  
    The application window opens on 1st July and closes on 13th September.

    The Asulam page of the website ( has a link to the Authorisation document and provides details of the dates for the application season.

    The manufacturer, UPL Europe Ltd, will be issuing supplies of Asulam to distributors with a view to these being available to purchase for the start of the application period.

    The EA approval document contains data and information requirements that must be submitted to the regulator, the Chemical Regulations Division of the HSE. UPL will be distributing some forms with the product, which it will be possible to complete by hand, type on a computer or online. The support of everyone who applies Asulam to provide this information is essential; the provision of this information to CRD is a prerequisite to securing the future use of Asulam for bracken control.

    I am disappointed that this approval has come so late this year, but I hope it will still allow you to plan chemical bracken control work.

    Any feedback or photos during the course of the season will be very welcome.

  • 13 May 2021
    Asulam Emergency Authorisation - Update

    The Bracken Control Group’s application for an Emergency Authorisation to allow the use of Asulam for bracken control during 2021 was considered by the Expert Committee on Pesticides on 9th March. The application requested that the 120-day authorisation period should start on 17th May and run until 13th September.

    It is likely that an approval will granted but discussion about the conditions that will be attached to the approval is taking place.

    Further information will be circulated as soon as anything is received from the Chemicals Regulation Division of HSE.

  • 22 Dec 2020
    December Update

    On top of everything else, it is has been a complicated year for bracken control. Much of the activity has been around chemical control, and Asulam in particular, but it should not be forgotten that the Group seeks to encourage the control of bracken by every possible means.

    For Asulam, two Emergency Authorisation approvals were granted during the year, and this has allowed aerial and ground-based application to continue, albeit with restrictions. Thanks to all who supported the application process.

    As part of the EA approvals, the regulators asked to be provided with more information about the use of Asulam. This may seem to be excessively bureaucratic, but it can be argued that this just represents good stewardship. A hastily established system was put in place and some very useful information was provided by the end-users of Asulam. For next year, the system will be improved to make it easier to provide accurate information, but thanks to all those who made the effort to provide details this year.

    The EA application to allow the use of Asulam in 2021 was submitted, at the end of October, and is being processed by the Chemicals Regulation Division of the HSE; it is likely to be reviewed by the Expert Committee on Pesticides on 9th March. It is appreciated that this will provide less notice for the contractors than ideal, but the timing has been a casualty of the complicated year.

    The EA application highlights three areas that the BCG would like to see addressed:
    ▪ The 90m buffer for aerial spraying,
    ▪ The continued use of ground-based application techniques, without restriction to protected sites or land covered by an agri-environment agreement, and
    ▪ A review of the one-month livestock exclusion period.

    Recent activity:
    ▪ Letters have been sent to the four UK environment ministers to highlight the importance of bracken control, the need for agri-environment support and to provide an update about Asulam and chemical control.
    ▪ Additional information is being prepared to support the EA application.
    ▪ The research programme is continuing. Weather permitting, trials will be carried out before the end of December to establish the amount of drift from helicopter spraying operations. This work aims to provide evidence to support the discussion about the required buffer zone.

    It has been an eventful year but I would like to thank everyone for their support. With best wishes for Christmas and a less eventful 2021.

  • 03 Nov 2020
    Asulam Emergency Authorisation Application

    The application to permit the use of Asulam for bracken control for the 2021 season was submitted to the Chemicals Registration Division of HSE, on 30 October 2020. It is likely that a response will be provided in late January or early February; this will depend on the timing of the meeting of the Expert Committee on Pesticides.

    To provide background to the application, the BCG submitted some Supporting information that highlighted
    the three key issues for the BCG: review of the 90m buffer zone introduced in 2020, review of the one-month exclusion period for livestock, and the maintenance of ground-based control options. The application also outlined the expanding research programme that is developing the evidence base to support the need for bracken control by all means, including chemical control with Asulam and/or other active ingredients.

    For more information see the Asulam page of the website -

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