Banana farmer fined for pesticide lapse

A SANDY Beach banana farmer has been fined for not recording the use of pesticides.

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has issued a $750 penalty notice to the offending farmer for the offence.

EPA Manager North Coast Region, Brett Nudd, said that pesticide users must take all necessary precautions to ensure they are using pesticide products safely and correctly recording their usage.

Maintaining records is important as it enables the EPA to monitor pesticide use. Record keeping is a requirement of the Pesticides Act.

"The EPA conducted an investigation into the Sandy Beach banana farmer following a complaint that pesticides were being sprayed in strong winds," Mr Nudd said.

"Weather observations by the Bureau of Meteorology indicate that the wind speed at the time of the complaint was in excess of the accepted maximum speed of 15km/hr and in the direction of neighbouring properties.

"As part of its investigation, EPA officers requested the pesticide records kept by the banana farmer. The officers found that the records lacked critical information required in accordance with pesticide legislation, including wind speed and direction at the time of spraying the pesticide."

He said the accidental or intentional misuse of pesticides can pose a serious threat to the health of the operators, community and environment.

"Keeping detailed records provides the regulator, neighbours and the public with the confidence that pesticides are being used safely. Importantly accurate records also provide a level of protection for law abiding pesticide users."

Penalty notices are just one of a number of tools the EPA can use to achieve environmental compliance, including formal warnings, licence conditions, notices and directions, mandatory audits, enforceable undertakings, legally binding pollution reduction programs and prosecutions.

The EPA takes all non-compliances seriously and regulatory decisions are guided by the principles outlined in the EPA Prosecution Guidelines.

For more information about the EPA's regulatory tools, see the EPA Compliance Policy http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/legislation. Incidents can be reported to 131 555.



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