Legal obligations in Dutch Water Pollution Act
Width of crop-free strip is 0,25 m (winter wheat) up to 1,5 m in intensively sprayed crops (potatoes, flower bulb, strawberry...).
Aquatic risk was reduced by 85% during the evaluation period (1998-2010). Still, highest exceedances in regions with flower bulbs, orchards and greenhouses.
Source: Tiktak, van Eerft and van der Linden. Effect of pesticide reduction strategies on surface water quality in the Netherlands. PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency
PPPs may not be used in arable crops alongside surface water if the spraying equipment is not equipped with 50% drift reducing nozzles and respective edge nozzles and a maximum boom height of 50 cm. In fruit crops at least 90% drift reducing techniques are to be used alongside waterways in combination with a minimal 3 m crop-free buffer zone.
Windbreaks are commonly grown to protect orchards against wind damage and to improve micro-climate. Natural windbreaks of broad-leaved trees can also reduce the risk of surface water contamination caused by spray drift during orchard spraying. Spray drift from pesticide applications is a major concern in the Netherlands, especially drift into water courses. So far, several drift reducing measures have been accepted by water quality control organisations and the Board for the Authorization of Pesticides and Biocides (CTGB), e.g. presence of a windbreak (i.e. 70% drift reduction at early season and 90% drift reduction at full leaf, respectively before and after first of May). From the experiments it was concluded that the risk of drift contamination is high during the early developmental stages of the growing season. The 70% drift reduction at early season as determined in previous experiments, appears to be valid only for windbreaks with a certain degree of developed leaves. At full leaf stage 80-90% drift reduction by the windbreak was measured. The use of evergreen windbreaks or wind-break species that develop in early season can reduce the risk of drift contamination considerably. Also, the combination of drift reducing methods, such as one-sided spraying of the last tree row and a windbreak is an effective method to reduce spray drift in the Netherlands in early season.
Source: Wenneker, Heijne and van de Zande.2005. Effect of natural windbreaks on drift reduction in orchard spraying.
The agricultural sectors have announced that they will further reduce the drift of pesticide spray to surface water. They have requested legislation that demands the best available technologies be used to reduce drift, where possible, by at least 75% for the entire field (rather than a 50% reduction in a buffer zone next to surface water). A decision on the need for additional drift reduction measures to protect surface water will be made in 2017 at the latest, following an evaluation.
Source: Dutch action plan on sustainable plant protection
Low drift nozzles allowing a 90 or 95% drift reduction provide for the possibility to reduce the crop free zone to 1 meter. Concerned is the crop free zone of 1.5 meters according to Article 1.8 and 3.80 from the 'Activiteitenbesluit'. The buffer zone reduction does not apply to crop free zones of 150 cm for flower bulbs (permanent flower bulbs).
Air/product mix nozzles (90% and 95%): It shall be noted that within 14 m from surface water low drift nozzles and the respective edge nozzles must always be used if the crop free zone is to be reduced to 1 meter. Nozzles must not be higher than 50 cm from the crop or bare ground and wind speed at nozzle level may not exceed 5 m/s.
Source: TCT 2016. Driftarme spuitdoppen, de nevel trekt op