Farmers in Northumberland are being warned that the clock is ticking in the race to meet fresh legislation on the use of pesticides.
New laws mean there are just nine months until a certificate of competence becomes a legal requirement for anyone using aluminium phosphides to control rabbits, rats and moles in their burrows.
And the leader of an independent stewardship scheme is urging those affected to avoid a race against time.
David Cross, chairman of RAMPS UK (the Register of Accredited Metallic Phosphide Standards), said: “From November 26, gamekeepers using products such as Talunex and Phostoxin must demonstrate they’ve achieved the new Level 2 Award, even if they’ve had previous training.
“After that date, no one will be able to use the products without this new certificate of competence.”