Aerial spraying is an important part of efforts to stop the spread of pests and diseases in New South Wales. However, for all the benefits of this action, it is easy to get wrong and this can cause serious public health concerns.
This issue was outlined in a recent case published by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA). In mid-February 2015, the EPA was contacted by a worried resident about aerial spraying occurring too close to their property without granted permission.
Under section 39 (4) of the Pesticides Act 1999, if pesticides are going to be aerially sprayed within 150 metres of a dwelling, all occupiers must give prior consent. In this particular case, the resident was not contacted by either the Upper Macquarie County Council (UMCC) or aerial spray contractors Commercial Helicopters.
EPA Manager Central West Richard Whyte explained that the contractors were spraying pesticides around 125 metres from the complaint's home and this could impact public health.
"Pesticides can be dangerous to humans, pets and the environment if not used properly. These requirements are there to protect the community and make sure that they are aware of spraying," he said.
"The EPA considered that UMCC, as the control authority for noxious weeds in the Central West of NSW and whose core business is to use and supervise the application of pesticides, must lead by example and always be in full compliance with the pesticides legislation."
Both the UMCC and Commercial Helicopters were fined $800 for the safety breaches and Mr Whyte hopes this is a lesson in why it is important to minimise public risk.
Aerial weed spraying hitting the headlines
This isn't the first time that aerial weed spraying has come to the public's attention in recent months. In late July, the Snowy River Shire Council was forced to abandon its spraying plans after concerns were raised about the type of herbicide it was going to use.
According to the ABC, the EPA said the council was going to use the herbicide outside of label requirements – something that could impact the environment.
Of course, the use of pesticides and herbicides can also impact public health, which is why the laws are so strong in this area.
Public liability in NSW
If your health has been affected by aerial spraying or other chemicals in the environment, you could be eligible for compensation.
Public liability claims can entitle you to a wide number of compensation packages. This can include compensation for economic losses such as loss of wages and superannuation.
You can also claim for costs of past and future care that you have needed since your illness. These types of claims are usually very complex, so you should seek legal advice from a lawyer.
Call our expert medical negligence lawyers today for free over-the-phone advice on our Free Call Number, 1800 004 878.