Byron Shire Council voted last week to aim to go chemical free within the next five years in a new shire-wide weed/pest management policy. The policy includes ending the use of all non-organic chemical-based herbicides and pesticides on all Council-owned and -managed land.
Byron mayor Simon Richardson said, ‘Our community needs confidence that our high-use areas do not use chemical herbicides unless it is absolutely necessary and there is no other viable alternative. For instance, this would include playgrounds and sports fields.
‘Using steam to eradicate weeds is already being embraced more and more by individual and organisational land owners. Council needs to keep up and embrace new technology that is sustainable for our shire.
‘While [the five-year target] is aspirational, we need to set a benchmark against which we can list our achievements and perhaps revise the target if needed. Let’s consider a trial in some locations and empower our community to pitch in and help when they are willing.’
Council will also be writing to the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) for assurances that no aerial spraying or broad-scale, ground-based spraying residue can contaminate Council or private land adjacent to NPWS-controlled land, along with a request that NPWS engage with the community to grow a community ecological and non-chemical weed-management group.