On 26th October 2015 ELDC employees began spraying on and around one of the cleared dunes just to the north of the National Nature Reserve boundary. Although they were using some degree of protection for themselves (no masks, goggles or visors as recommended in the usage instructions ) no precautions had been taken to protect the public and their pets.
I had been walking in this area, with my wife and 2 dogs, just after 8.00 am in the morning and was passed on the saltmarsh by an ELDC vehicle with 3 occupants in protective clothing with spraying gear in the back. I noticed they had stopped where we had walked through so went home to fetch my camera.
On returning to the area I found all three men spraying with knapsack sprayers, the wind speed being some 15 mph off the sea so drifting of the chemicals was inevitable. No hazard signs had been erected and no attempt had been made to cordon off the area.
I spoke to the men to ascertain what herbicide was being used and was advised that it was Gallup, which is a glyphosate based herbicide (subsequently establishing it as an industrial strength systemic weedkiller designed to eradicate most broadleaved plants and grasses). I expressed my concern about the lack of public protection and of the published dangers of glyphosate and was told that if I looked up any herbicide I would find that nothing was completely safe – in fact EXACTLY what I had been saying about this completely unnecessary risk. In the windy conditions, the collateral damage to surrounding vegetation must have been substantial but they insisted that the work was being carried out under direct instructions of Natural England
This method of approach in an open access area is totally irresponsible and unacceptable and may also have killed large numbers of protected plants and grasses.