Environment Waikato says it now wants to be allowed to get on with the job of using 1080 to protect regional biodiversity and control bovine Tb, following the decision of the Environmental Risk Management Agency to allow the poison’s continued use against possums and other pests.
“We now have a clear mandate to continue the use of 1080 within the controls set by ERMA,” said group manager biosecurity John Simmons.
Mr Simmons said best practice guidelines for 1080 use used by pest control contractors that Environment Waikato engages for aerial operations already substantially comply with the new 1080 management regime imposed by ERMA.
“The only real practical effect of the new rules on us will be that we will now have to ensure that ERMA is supplied with post-operation reports on 1080 use, something we are very happy to comply with.”
He said ERMA’s decision had taken a “proceed with caution” approach to 1080 and that this had always been Environment Waikato’s guiding principle over the use of the poison.
“We are extremely careful in what we do,” said Mr Simmons. “We also believe we communicate and consult with local communities very well in areas where we plan 1080 use. We are committed to continuing to supply good quality information to them in a timely fashion either via letter, newsletter, newspapers, meetings and one on one contact with contractors as operations are being planned.”
Mr Simmons believed many criticisms of 1080 use were based on outdated information and said ERMA’s study of 1080 had helped shed new light on “misunderstandings”, such as the numbers of birds killed during operations, and alleged impacts on water.
“I hope the critics and opponents of 1080 use will reflect very carefully on ERMA’s decision, and the huge amount of time and effort that has gone into reaching its conclusions. The fact is there are no practical alternatives to 1080, and Environment Waikato and other agencies now need to be allowed to get on with the job of protecting New Zealand’s biodiversity and controlling bovine Tb.”