In your weed control article (HW, 16 March) you said quads can be used on footpaths for spraying, but I've been told we can't. What is the situation?

(Article referenced is Market report - Weed control")

A. It is true you can use vehicles on pavements for the purpose of pesticide application, although there are "buts".

Following a request from the Crop Protection Association, the Health & Safety Executive issued a statement in March last year outlining its view on what constitutes good practice using a vehicle such as an ATV, quad bike or mini-tractor on footpaths or in other public areas.

It says: "Employers of spraying contractors and sprayer operators have a duty of care to those who may be affected by their application of pesticides. Whether or not a particular method of application can be considered safe in terms of operator, public or environmental safety at any point of time should be considered in a site-specific risk assessment."

So far so good. Do the risk assessment.

The statement continues: "Applications should only be carried out by competent, trained (certificated) operators." That's what we would expect - that is the law.

Then it says: "Drivers/operators should not hold a spraying lance while riding on such a vehicle as two hands are generally needed for safe control, particularly where there is a risk of encountering people, animals, uneven surfaces or obstacles. The use of hand-held pesticide application equipment by the driver of a moving vehicle is not appropriate and does not represent good practice in applying pesticides. Hand lances may be attached to or carried on the vehicle, but should only be used when the vehicle is stationary and not in gear".

The statement has not changed the legal position on the use of hand lances, but simply sets out what is seen as good practice. The key requirement continues to be the use of a site-specific risk assessment to assess whether the measures you choose to take will reduce the risk to employees and others "so far is reasonably practicable" to meet the requirements of health and safety legislation.

In addition, however, you need to remember that Regulatory Update 42, issued at the end of last year by the Chemicals Regulation Directorate, confirms that blanket spraying is unlawful on hard surfaces. The update sets out new label requirements for herbicides that are approved for use on non-porous, hard surfaces.

The new "directions for use" wording on product labels, to which those applying herbicides are legally required to adhere, means that hard surfaces applications must be targeted. In other words you have to hit the weeds and not the spaces in between.

Email your questions to sally.drury@haymarket.com

Sally Drury has been reporting on product developments and testing kit for 29 years. The advice given in this helpline is independent.


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Sargent's solutions - how to avoid the traps of 'professional non-payers'

Sargent's solutions - how to avoid the traps of 'professional non-payers'

Be wary of unscrupulous clients who may look for loopholes to avoid settling up at the end of a job, Alan Sargent warns.

Living walls

Living walls

The benefits of green walls make them worth investigation by all green-space professionals, says Miranda Kimberley.

Business planning - improving productivity through training

Business planning - improving productivity through training

How to create a structured training programme for your staff to give your business a competitive edge, by Neville Stein.


Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

BALI National Landscape Awards 2017

Read all about the winning projects in the awards, run in association with Horticulture Week.

-Download the Digital Edition

Are you a landscape supplier?

Horticulture Week Landscape Project Leads

If so, you should be receiving our new service for Horticulture Week subscribers delivering landscape project leads from live, approved, planning applications across the UK.

Industry Data

An exclusive report for HW subscribers revealing the key development trends, clients and locations for 2017.

Products & Kit Resources

Noel Farrer

Founding partner of Farrer Huxley Associates Noel Farrer on landscape and green space
 

Read Noel Farrer