Staff out spraying to kill off knotweed are all ‘wearing full PPE’ says Council

September 7th, 2022 7:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

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IN response to queries from a number of readers about the spraying of noxious weedkiller by Cork County Council, a spokesperson told The Southern Star that the Council has had a contractor employed since 2019 to treat Japanese knotweed and other invasive species in and around the Skibbereen flood relief scheme, funded by the OPW.

‘This is standard practice by Cork County Council in areas where flood relief schemes are in the design/planning stage, construction stage or completed, to try to eradicate invasive species growth and at least prevent further spread,’ the spokesperson said.

‘Residents in the locality where treatment works was to occur would have been advised of the scheme when it was first initiated and in general, a positive response was received.

‘Private landowners are also contacted by the contractor before the land is accessed. Signage also remains in place throughout the year advising that Japanese knotweed is present and should not be interfered with,’ they added.

The spokesperson continued that the contractor is required to wear full personal protective equipment (PPE) to the Health and Safety Authority’s standards for use when working with chemicals. ‘The contractor has worked for Cork County Council for a number of years and there have been no reported incidents where operatives were not wearing full PPE. The contractor safety and health record is also assessed as part of the tender process. The contractor has confirmed that his staff carrying out the works were wearing appropriate PPE during the treatment process in Skibbereen.’

It continued: ‘In the areas, Cork County Council is aware of planted wildflowers in the vicinity of invasive species, the knotweed within these areas received spot treatment to avoid non-target species. There are a limited number of herbicides on the market effective in the treatment of Japanese knotweed. The product used by the contractor has been selected as it is approved for use near water. Others are not and/or have a longer persistence. Going forward if working in the vicinity of built-up areas contractors will be asked to erect temporary signage advising that treatment is in progress.’

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