In 2003 the EU took the decision to ban the amateur use of creosote as a precautionary measure, because of concerns around the impacts of creosote on human health and the environment.
Approvals for professional and industrial use of creosote products were allowed to continue. However, these approvals - made under the EU Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR) - place restrictions on the type of products and on where wood treated with creosote can be used.
Under the BPR, creosote is approved for use on railway sleepers, highways fencing, overhead electricity and telecommunication poles, as well as stakes, poles and fencing for agricultural use.
Creosote expiry dates postponed
The active creosote has had its approval expiry date postponed until 24 July 2023. This means that many of the product authorisations will now end on 31 October 2023.
The authorisations for many creosote-containing products were due to expire on 29 March 2021. However, these expiry dates have been postponed (not renewed) to enable continued use of these products while the active substance approval process is being worked through.
Before using any creosote-containing products you should check the list of current use-by dates in the UK on the HSE website.
The NFU has been working with Wood Protection Association on the continuing use of creosote in agricultural situations and thanks them for their support on this issue.
Coal-tar creosote has been used as a wood preservative since 1838 and is used across agriculture to provide a safe and reliable service life in tree stakes, poles and animal fencing.
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