Written answers

Thursday, 9 March 2023

Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Agriculture Industry

Photo of Michael FitzmauriceMichael Fitzmaurice (Roscommon-Galway, Independent)
Link to this: Individually | In context

5. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine in light of the proposed banning of creosote stakes by Minister Ryan, and in recognition of 46,000 farmers applying for GLAS, with a large number requiring timber stakes for riparian zone and fencing drains, and importers making it clear that new licensed production of new products is eight months away, if he will seek a derogation on the legalisation to avoid a shortage of quality fencing posts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11520/23]

Photo of Charlie McConalogueCharlie McConalogue (Donegal, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context

I thank the Deputy for raising this topic.

The approval and uses of creosote as a wood preservative were recently reviewed under the EU Biocidal Products Regulation. The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is the Competent Authority in Ireland with responsibility for this legislation.

The EU review process, which was managed by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), resulted in a renewal of approval for creosote that was limited in its scope due to significant concerns, including the carcinogenic potential for humans.

This means that there is cancer risk associated with creosote.

Permitted uses were restricted to industrial vacuum pressure impregnation of wood used for railway sleepers, electricity poles and telecommunications poles only.

The renewal Regulation came into force on 1st November 2022 and stipulates that from 30th April 2023 only railway sleepers or utility poles for electricity or telecommunications treated with creosote may be placed on the market in EU Member States.

A derogation to allow for continued use of creosote for treating agricultural and equine fencing is not possible under the regulatory framework.

It should be noted that timber already treated with creosote and sold to end users e.g. farmers before 30th April 2023, can be used after that date. There continues to be a window for the sale and subsequent use of posts treated with creosote.

Timber fencing posts treated with alternative products or manufactured using alternative material can be used in grant-aided fencing in the new €370m TAMS 3.

Everyone recognises that there are challenges associated with this EU regulatory decision. It is not a decision that we sought out or brought to the table. However, it is one that we must deal with and we must work through.

Officials within the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine have engaged proactively with stakeholders to raise awareness about the restrictions on creosote use and their implications. These efforts are ongoing and whilst there are alternatives available work continues to progress the availability of further alternative wood preservative products.

There are alternatives on the market at present and we will continue to work with industry to ensure that a greater volume of more alternatives are brought to market to serve farmers who need them.


No comments

Log in or join to post a public comment.