2011 December – February: Comboyne Legal Action. Pesticide of Concern: Triclopyr/Picloram

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Legal action could tighten controls on aerial pesticide spraying

Posted June 3, 2011 08:18:00

The North Coast Environment Council is hoping legal action over chemical spraying in the Comboyne area, will lead to stronger controls on aerial spraying of pesticides.

The North Environment Council’s Susie Russell says a helicopter company was fined for spraying herbicides while it was raining in March 2010.

Neighbours on adjoining properties were concerned about chemical run-off and pollution from the spray.

The company is now challenging the fine in court.

Ms Russell says the case highlights the risks posed by aerial spraying to people and the environment.

The case has been adjourned until August 30th in the Port Macquarie Court.

STRONGER CHEMICAL CONTROLS NEEDED

A case that is being heard in court today in relation to a helicopter company which sprayed chemicals in the Comboyne area should trigger stronger protections against aerial spraying of herbicides and pesticides, according to the North Coast Environment Council.

 The case is being heard in the Port Macquarie Local Court today, and involves a helicopter company, Precision Helicopters, which is challenging a $1,500 fine it received for spraying herbicides from the air whilst it was raining in March 2010.

Neighbours on adjoining properties have informed the North Coast Environment Council that they hold serious concerns about chemical run-off and pollution from the event, and that large areas of vegetation were killed.

“This case highlights both the risks posed by aerial spraying to people and the environment and the dramatically inadequate regulations that are currently in place to control it,” said NCEC spokesperson Susie Russell.

“The fact that the fine for undertaking aerial spraying in the rain was only $1,500 to begin with, and even that is now being challenged, indicates just how weak the laws are on this issue.

“The string of babies born with birth defects in the northern rivers region earlier this year has raised alarm bells throughout the wider community about the potential impacts of excessive chemical use on all elements of human biology.

“We are calling on the NSW Government to urgently ban aerial spraying of herbicides and pesticides, to place much stricter constraints on their use in all circumstances and to set-up a publicly accessible Pesticides Register where the use of herbicides and pesticides is logged.

“In particular, neighbours should be fully informed of chemical use on adjoining properties and there should be dramatic increases in penalties for people who break the rules,” Ms Russell said.