Aerial surveillance using remote piloted aerial vehicles such as drones is becoming an increasingly important tool in EPA’s evidence gathering kitbag and the north-east of Victoria is now home to the authority’s newest drone pilot, Matt Baronio.
With large areas where potential environmentally damaging activity can be hidden from the roadside, drones have proved highly valuable in being able to access and gather images and data that is then used in addressing and even prosecuting duty holders.
Baronio said he’s looking forward to using his new skills to protect the environment in the north-east.
“EPA has been using drones for several years now, and they’ve provided evidence that has been used in court cases or have helped manage projects like the current clean-up of Broderick Road, Lara or the alleged illegal waste dump site in Lemon Springs in the state’s north-west.
“Closer to Wangaratta where I’m based, we used them in monitoring the clean-up of the tyre stockpile in Numurkah in 2019 and at many other hard to access sites.”
Renee Palmer, EPA North East Regional Manager said the appointment was an example of the EPA’s commitment to expanding its capacity and capability in regional areas.
“In July last year we got new powers under the Environment Protection Act 2017 and Matt’s appointment as Specialist Drone Pilot servicing our region will boost our effectiveness, whether that is through covert monitoring of EPA permitted activities or tracing pollution in difficult terrain, EPA is well placed to identify and collect evidence of activities in the North East Region that may cause harm to the environment,” Palmer said..
“Of course, our best eyes and ears are the communities we serve. Information from the public often leads to EPA intervention and the prevention of further harm. So, if you see pollution call us on 1300 EPA VIC (1300 372 842).
For more information, visit: www.epa.vic.gov.au