3 Nov 2010

Tougher methyl bromide controls announced by ERMA

12:01 pm on 3 November 2010

The Environmental Risk Management Authority has annnounced tougher controls on methyl bromide fumigations, including the requirement for the use of recapture technolgy - to stop the release of the gas into the atmosphere - within 10 years.

Methyl bromide is an ozone-depleting gas, and there are health and safety concerns about its continued use.

It is required by New Zealand's trading partners for treatment of timber exports as a biosecurity measure; it also protects New Zealand from the invasion of pest species.

In submissions earlier this year, the Soil and Health Association said it is too dangerous to use and called for - at the very least - a phase-out date, with recapturing the gas made mandatory in the meantime.

ERMA says the new regime enhances the safety of people and the environment by strengthening exposure limits, imposing buffer zones and requiring air-quality monitoring.