29 June 2012
The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has approved an application by the Marlborough District Council to allow restricted aerial use of the herbicide Taskforce.
Taskforce was approved in 2010 for the selective ground-based control of two invasive weeds, Chilean needlegrass and Nassella tussock.
Marlborough District Council applied to modify the existing approval for Taskforce to allow restricted aerial application, and to allow its use for control of kangaroo grass.
In approving the modification of the approval for Taskforce, the EPA’s Decision-Making Committee considered there were significant benefits for New Zealand in allowing the aerial application of Taskforce to battle the spread of Chilean needle grass, and for allowing its use on kangaroo grass.
The Committee considered that infestations of these invasive weeds impacted on the profitability of pastoral land, restricting stock movement and, in the case of Chilean needlegrass, impacting on the welfare of grazing animals. This had a detrimental effect to landowners and local communities.
The Committee agreed to allow Taskforce to be applied onto pasture using aerial application, and for kangaroo grass to be added to the list of pest weeds that it may be used to control.
The restrictions in place for the aerial application of Taskforce include:
• restricting the frequency of aerial application to once in five years
• keeping a record of aerial application for a period of at least seven years, and provision of aerial application records to the EPA
• requiring the application be carried out by an Approved Handler
• giving written notification at least 10 working days before application, and
• protecting waterways through controls to guard against leaching from treated soil, or run-off from the application area as a result of heavy rainfall.
Committee chair Dr Manuka Henare said, with these additional controls in place, the benefits of allowing the use of Taskforce for aerial application and on kangaroo grass outweighed the risks.
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