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Agrichemical spraying

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Agrichemical spraying

Agrichemicals are chemical substances used in farming, horticulture, agriculture, forestry or other related activities.  They are often applied by spraying to modify or control insects and other pests, weeds or plant diseases.  Agrichemicals include conventional and organic sprays, but they don’t include fertilisers. 

Spray drift

Agrichemicals need to be used safely and responsibly. Spray drift can be a problem; it’s caused when spray drifts away from the target area beyond the boundary of the target property. Spray drift has the potential to cause injury or damage to human health, plants, animals, property or the environment.

Gisborne District Council’s Regional Air Quality Management Plan allows spraying as a permitted activity, but there are rules for the management of spray drift.

Preventing spray drift - sprayer's requirements

If you apply spray or employ someone to apply spray, you must be trained and adhere to:

Chapter 6 - Air quality management rules, in particular rule 6.3.1, 6.3.2, 13, 14 and 17. 

You need to talk to your neighbours.  Neighbours are those with properties bordering your own, as well as any sensitive areas or crops within 30 metres of where you will be spraying or 200 metres for aerial spraying.

Assess the weather conditions prior to spraying and recheck during spraying.

You must notify your neighbours that you have a spray plan, which is available on request.  This has to be done each calendar year or at least 2 weeks before the first spray of a new season. If a neighbour requests your spray plan - you need to provide it to them within 5 working days.

Rule 14 tells you what your spray plan must include.

A neighbour's rights

Spraying is permitted, but the spray is not allowed to drift.

Your neighbour needs to notify you that they have a spray plan for each new growing season.  If you could be affected, ask for a copy of the spray plan.

You can ask your neighbour to inform you of the spray type, before it’s applied, and who will be applying it.  You can also ask for telephone confirmation of each spray application or the ones that concern you.

Notification must be no less than 8 hours before each spray (but no more than 4 weeks before spraying).

You can take precautions while your neighbour is spraying.  To prevent contact with any spray drift you can:-

Here are some things you can do to prevent contact with any spray drift:

  • close windows, and make sure children and pets are indoors
  • take any washing off the line

Take notes of any incident.

If you are concerned that you have been exposed to spray drift

  • approach the property owner and let them know your concerns
  • contact council’s environmental health officer. 

We need to know:

  • if you were notified that they had a spray plan?
  • who was carrying out the spraying, the date and time?
  • what is being sprayed and the method.  If it’s by helicopter, note the colour and any identifying marks or features.
  • contact your doctor if your health has been affected by the spray
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