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Rule 2 Aerial agrichemical spray and powder application

Rule 2 Aerial agrichemical spray and powder application

Updated 3 July 2015 12:59pm

The discharge of contaminants into air in connection with:

(1) the aerial application of agrichemical sprays or powders;

is a Permitted Activity, provided it complies with the conditions below.


The persons responsible for the activity shall ensure that:

(i) The pilot holds a current agrichemical rating (issued by the NZ Agrichemical Education Trust), and loaders and ground crew shall hold the Standard GROWSAFE Certificate (issued by the NZ Agrichemical Education Trust), endorsed "Aerial Application Ground Crew".

(ii) Spray solutions are diluted, and sprays and powders are applied, strictly in accordance with the manufacturers' instructions and at concentrations not exceeding the manufacturers' label recommendations.

(iii) No mixing or diluting of chemicals takes place within 20 metres of a surface water body, a bore, spring, tile drain or the coastal marine area, unless the mixing or diluting takes place on an impervious surface which is bunded to contain washdown water or spillages.

(iv) No agrichemical sprays or powders are discharged over a catchment with surface water that is managed for water supply purposes as identified in any regional plan or proposed regional plan.

(v) All practicable steps are taken to avoid release of agrichemical over other open surface water (see Definitions) or wetland of one hectare or more unless the agrichemical is registered for use over water bodies.

(vi) Written notice (either direct notification to individual properties or public notification) is given to all adjacent properties, and places of common public assembly (e.g., schools, kindergartens, offices, etc.) located within 300 metres of the area to be sprayed or dusted with agrichemical powder.

Such notification is to take place prior to the spraying, not less than once a year, at the beginning of the year or spray season.

Such notification is unnecessary if owners or occupiers of adjacent properties or places of public assembly agree in writing that notification is not required.

Notice must be in the form of a property spray plan and include details of:

(a) the property or part of property to be sprayed or dusted with powder;

(b) the periods (likely day(s), date(s) and time(s)) when the agrichemical sprays or powders will be applied;

(c) the crops or vegetation to be sprayed and a list of chemicals (with brand names) to be used;

(d) any safety precautions for third parties, as noted in the most recent edition of the New Zealand Agrichemical and Plant Protection Manual;

(e) a list of immediate neighbours, and their contact phone numbers;

(f) identification of sensitive areas (e.g., residential buildings, school buildings, amenity areas, public water supply catchments, water bodies, sensitive crops or farming systems, wetlands, public roads) and the strategies employed to avoid contamination of those areas;

(g) the name and contact phone number of those carrying out the agrichemical application; and

(h) the equipment and method of application to be used.

(vii) A spray diary showing how the spray plan was implemented is maintained, and available for inspection, containing:

(a) date and time of spray/powder application;

(b) name and type of agrichemicals applied (including any additives);

(c) concentration and volume of spray/powder used ;

(d) weather conditions (including wind speed and direction);

(e) how notification requirements have been met; and

(f) details of any abnormal situation or incident, and any action taken, including any variations to the spray plan.

(viii) The Wellington Regional Council is notified immediately in the case of any emergency release, or accidental discharge.

(ix) Sprays and powders are applied in a manner which does not cause or is not likely to cause adverse effects beyond the boundary of the property.

Explanation: Aerial application of agrichemicals (as defined in the Definitions section of this plan) is permitted provided the conditions are complied with. If the conditions cannot be met, the activity is discretionary and covered by Rule 23.

Condition (i) requires that personnel involved in carrying out an aerial operation hold the appropriate qualifications.

Conditions (ii) and (iii) are also included in Rule 1 and address best practice in terms of following the label recommendations and preventing contamination of the environment.

If agrichemicals are to be aerially applied over public water catchments, a consent is required under Rule 23. The water bodies referred to in condition (v) are those which are readily visible from the air and can be avoided by the pilot.

A significant aspect of the rule is the requirement for public notification when agrichemical sprays and powders are applied close to other properties (condition vi). This condition requires that written notice be given to all adjacent properties or place of common public assembly (schools, halls, sports fields etc.), which is within 300 metres of the area to be sprayed or dusted with powder. Public notification can either be via direct notice to neighbouring properties as described above, or through public notification in a community, district or national newspaper. Notification must be given at least once a year, at the start of the year or at the beginning of the spray season.

Public notification is not required when the written agreement of the owner or occupier of an adjacent property has been obtained that states that notification is not required. In such instances, spraying can be carried out without notification to the adjacent property owner/occupier until such time as the ownership or occupation of the neighbouring property changes, or the notice stating that public notification is not required is rescinded.

The information required with the notification is outlined in the condition. The period when the sprays or powders are applied means the general time frame which can be reasonably predicted. For example, if a horticulturalist wishes to apply agrichemicals aerially within 300 metres of a neighbour's property then the notice to the neighbouring property owner could state that "spraying will be undertaken between 6-10 am on Tuesday 9th, Wednesday 10th, or Thursday 11th of February, depending on weather conditions". It should be noted that the requirement for notification does not mean that approval is required from those people to whom notification is given. Failure to provide adequate notification, where required, makes spraying a discretionary activity.

Condition (vii) calls for the use of spray diaries, regardless of the type of chemicals being applied in the same situations as spray plans are required. The relevant data must be entered into the spray diary on each occasion that agrichemicals are sprayed or dusted. The spray diary may be required for inspection by Regional Council compliance officers.

The Council must be notified (condition (viii)) in the event of any accidental discharge or emergency load release to enable any necessary remedial measures to be undertaken.