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Roadside Weed Control

Roadside spreaying truck

As asset manager of over 1300km of road network, Council has legal and community obligations to manage roadside vegetation. This is done to ensure road safety, maintain the integrity of the road surface in a cost-effective manner and to manage weeds.

Spraying of roadside weeds and overgrown vegetation serves a number of purposes including:

  • Suppression of priority weed species and reduced risk of weeds spreading along roadside areas. This helps Council meet our obligations under the Biosecurity Act 2015.
  • Reduction of potential for roadside weeds to invade pastures and neighbouring properties.
  • Reduction in vegetation contaminating road surfaces during grading and drainage maintenance.
  • Reduction in vegetation growing into and damaging the road surface.
  • Reduction in vegetation blocking drainage lines.
  • Maintains visibility of guideposts and signs.
  • Maintains visibility around bends and corners.
  • Reduces the chances of animals being obscured by vegetation on the road edge.
  • Provides opportunity for vehicles to safely pull off the road as needed.
  • Provide pedestrian refuge as needed.

Why do we use herbicides? Can we use alternatives?

In order to achieve our roadside vegetation maintenance objectives, Council uses a number of methods including outreach mowing and pruning, mowing/slashing and roadside spraying.

Current service levels of mowing and slashing cannot keep pace with the need for road grading, road safety maintenance and weed management.

Council maintains a purpose-built vehicle for roadside spraying with carefully calibrated equipment allowing for site specific spray specifications. Council utilises best practice methods in roadside spraying to minimise spray drift and off-target impact.

Responsible herbicide use leaves a defined strip of dead vegetation on the road edge with control lasting up to 6 months depending on weather conditions. If physical control methods only (e.g. mowing) were used it is likely that vegetation regrowth would be much faster and more vigorous 

Council is always looking to improve the safety, efficiency and cost effectiveness of our operations. Several trials have been conducted and ongoing research undertaken by staff looking at alternative control methods to systemic herbicide use. 

What herbicides do we use? Are they safe?

Council’s use of herbicides is always in compliance with the Pesticides Act 1999. We avoid the use of volatile herbicides that are more susceptible to drift, only using appropriate herbicides for the task required, as tested and approved by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA).

Council staff constantly monitor and re-evaluate all herbicide use to assess their safety and effectiveness. Different herbicides may be used for roadside spraying throughout the year based on growing conditions and weeds present. This helps to manage the issue of herbicide resistance in certain plant species.

Staff continually monitor weather conditions at spray sites and will cease spraying in the event of rain, high winds or other conditions thought to be unsuitable for spraying.

Staff plan spray runs carefully to avoid spraying in sensitive areas and an escort driver monitors spraying and conditions to inform the operator of any changes or precautions required.

What if I am an organic property?

Council recognises the concerns of organic growers with regard to herbicide use near their operations.

Council maintains the position that overgrown road edges present an undue safety and weed risk to the community. Whilst we respect organic properties, we reserve the right to conduct roadside vegetation maintenance on Council land via the safest and most efficient means which includes spraying and slashing operations.

Organic growers are encouraged to provide Council with a copy of their registered organic status. This will ensure staff plan their operations to avoid impacting on organic properties.

Organic growers are also strongly encouraged to establish and maintain buffer zones along their road frontage to help mitigate potential impacts caused by any operations on Council’s road reserves.

What if I am sensitive to chemicals or don’t want them sprayed outside my property?

Residents with genuine chemical sensitivity (as diagnosed by a medical doctor) may  apply for listing on Council’s Chemically Sensitive Register395KB pdf(PDF, 395KB). A medical certificate must be supplied with this application. Residents may choose to be on the Chemically Sensitive Register (not to be sprayed) or to be notified prior to spraying so arrangements can be made to vacate the area during spraying operations.

Residents without medically diagnosed sensitivity to chemicals are welcome to notify Council of their objections to spraying. Depending on the volume of notifications received, Council may notify residents prior to commencing spraying operations, however staff will be instructed to assess each road edge based on both safety obligations and perceived weed risk and to undertake action accordingly. We also encourage residents to ensure they are informed of spraying locations by actively seeking out this information on Council’s website, on social media or in local newspapers.

In an informal capacity, well maintained road edges with no immediate weed or safety issues may not require spraying by Council staff. To ensure formal arrangements are made, an  Application for Use of a Public Road (Section 138)99KB pdf(PDF, 99KB) may be lodged with Council. This will ensure that formal arrangements between landholders and Council are made to ensure vegetation on a public road is maintained.

 

This page was last updated on: 30 April 2019