A PLAN to aerial spray pine plantations in the Alpine Shire with herbicides has residents worried about their health and safety.
Several Bright homeowners have received notices that Hancock Victoria Plantations will spray Roundup and Brushoff in the area from a helicopter.
Jayne Guiney, who lives close to a plantation, said she was concerned chemicals would be sprayed near her property.
“I don’t see why they can plant and harvest trees by hand, but not spray by hand,” she said.
“I have no idea what impact it could have on my property and the waterways.”
Hancock Plantations planned to spray at plantations in Ovens, Croppers Creek, Rose River, Porepunkah, Bright and Wandiligong from April 1 to April 10. Only those living within 200 metres of the plantation were notified.
The company said weather conditions had delayed spraying.
Company spokesman Lou Coutts said registered chemicals were used as directed by national authority, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority. He said the company was using a helicopter due to the steep terrain.
“Helicopters have GPS navigation to ensure materials are deposited only where intended — inside the plantation boundary,” she said.
“The helicopter does not travel outside of our land with chemicals.”
“Operations stop if wind, humidity and temperature are outside specific parameters for the specific application type.
“The nozzles discharging materials create large droplets designed to be heavy and fall straight down, minimising drift.”
But while the company is meeting its legal requirements, residents yesterday called on it to take the moral high ground.
Alpine councillor Kate Farrell said, at the least, she wanted more people notified.
“There are pines within hundreds of metres of my house and, while they are doing nothing wrong legally, I would have liked them to take the ethical route when it comes to people’s health,” she said.
“They should have the sense to warn everybody, particularly when people with asthma live in this area,”
Residents have been campaigning against spraying on social media on the “Bright community aerial spraying concerns” Facebook page.