EPA report released on 'environmental effects' of 1080 aerial operations

An environmental watchdog says current rules around 1080 poison for pest control keep people and the environment safe.

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has released its report into the aerial use of 1080 during 2017, which details information on 50 aerial operations covering 875,000 hectares of land.

General Manager of the EPA's Hazardous Substances Group Dr Fiona Thomson-Carter says 1080 remains one of the most strictly controlled hazardous substances in New Zealand, and is a critical tool in the ongoing fight to protect our native birds from introduced predators  possums, rodents and stoats.

"While around 30 research projects continue to look at 1080 alternatives and ways to improve the targeting of pests, the EPA believes the current rules around 1080 keep people and the environment safe," she says.

The report includes information on 12 incidents of non-compliance with the rules, and three complaints reported to the EPA.

Dr Thomson-Carter says all 12 incidents were investigated and none posed significant risk to public health or the environment.

"During 2016, there were 36 operations which covered a total of 1,051,204 hectares of land, due mainly to the Department of Conservation's Battle for our Birds programme."

The programme was launched to reduce the effects of an expected beech mast, where a high level of seed production in beech forests led to large population increases in rates of mice and stoats.

Read the full EPA report here.