Letter in The Oban Times, 29th June 2023
Scotland is banning the use of the only spray that can control bracken, Asulox, whereas England will continue to allow it. Bracken harbours ticks which carry Lyme’s disease. We all know someone who has had Lyme’s disease, which if not diagnosed quickly can cause extreme symptoms of tiredness, headaches and worse.
Until now the Scottish Government has allowed the use of Asulox, but now are following advice from the Health and Safety Executive and banning it. In my experience the Health and Safety Executive wants to ban everything.
Banning Asulox is another nail in the coffin for hill farming and crofting, a traditional way of life that is barely viable in any case. Bracken was cut for winter bedding for cattle a century ago, and more recently kept under control by an annual spray of Asulox from backpacks or helicopter. Even so, farmers were struggling to control the spread. Every acre of bracken is four less sheep on the hill. Expect the glens near you to become more unpopulated, with no active farming as the hill land becomes covered with bracken.
Of course this central belt decision is once again a result of the Green Party dragging the SNP into doing something to the severe detriment of rural Scotland. I imagine the SNP Minister for Rural Affairs Mairi Gougeon was given a hard time by hill farmers at The Royal Highland Show last week.
Governments should have found an acceptable method of controlling bracken, then banned Asulox.
Highlands Liberal Democrat Councillor and Westminster Candidate