Pesticides warning after £100K fine threat
Golf clubs have been warned to make sure the pesticides they use are legal after a Hampshire venue has been threatened with a six-figure fine.
The Verderers of the New Forest, an organisation that protects the New Forest, receives about £2m a year in public funding to manage its habitat. Recently, the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) carried out an inspection on all the golf clubs under the Verderers of the New Forest’s jurisdiction, to ensure that all the chemicals they use are approved by Natural England.
The RPA found that Burley Golf Club was using out of date chemicals, banned substances and pesticides in the wrong place, plus was failing to keep adequate records.
As a result, the Verderers of the New Forest has been threatened with a five percent reduction in its annual funding, equating to £100,000. If the problem is not rectified within the next 12 months the loss could rise to £300,000.
Colin Draper, grazing manager for the Verderers, said: “The greens are a Site of Special Scientific Interest and this is considered by the RPA to be a serious breach of the Higher Level Stewardship agreement.”
He added that the golf club had been made aware of the issue and was taking steps to prevent any future breaches.
He said: “They’re embarrassed this problem has arisen and want to make sure they only use pesticides on the prescribed list and properly record their use of chemical fertilisers.”
One leading agronomist told Golf Club Management: “This case highlights the need for golf clubs to keep abreast of which pesticides they can use, and where, and to keep accessible records.
“Golf courses need to be custodians of their environments. Failing to do this could be bad for their greens and bad for their bank balances.”