9 November 2001
Growers warned of windy spraying

By Tom Allen-Stevens

DESPITE falling numbers of complaints about the use of pesticides, cereal growers have been criticised for spraying in inappropriate conditions.

The Health and Safety Inspectorates Chief Agricultural Inspector Linda Williams said that too many incidents relate to spraying when the wind speed is too great.

She also urges growers to record wind speed accurately, using a proper meter.

The number of complaints about the use of pesticides investigated has fallen by a third, however.

In the year up to March 2001, the number of incidents fell from 170 incidents to just 84 – news welcomed by the Crop Protection Association.

The number of people who believed they had become ill as the result of working with pesticides also fell to 71 compared to the seven-year average of 90 a year.

“This is doubly-encouraging news,” says Ross Dyer, CPA technical manager.

“The Government and HSE has gone all out to make sure that pesticide incidents are fully reported and investigated.

“It is still early days but we hope that this sets a downward trend for the future, reflecting the emphasis everyone is putting on safer farming.”

But Mr Dyer emphasised that there was still much to be done and echoed the criticisms made by the HSE.

“Failure to warn neighbours of impending spraying also leads to too many complaints to HSE.

“A quick phone call before you start is much appreciated by your neighbours, especially those who are concerned about pesticide use,” he said.

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