top of page


Risk Mitigation Management Measures

Legal requirements and situation, summary of accepted risk mitigation measures

April 27, 2017

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

Certification and approval procedure for spray drift reducing nozzles

March 29, 2017

Nozzle classification in drift reduction classes 50%, 75%, 90% and 95% reduction compared to a reference nozzle is based on spray quality measurements using the IDEFICS spray drift model. This list is kept up to date by the TCT (Technical Commission  - Technische Commissie Techniekbeoordeling)

Source: OECD

The above-mentioned Technical Commission TCT has the task of carrying out the actual assessment on the basis of the research data submitted by the applicant on the basis of the "Evaluation Methods Emission-limiting Measures for Crop Production and Livestock Production". The TCT assesses the extent to which these new techniques (new low drift nozzles) meet the requirements. The result of the assessment is a recommendation from the Technical Commission to the water managers. The TCT also publishes a press release on the advice, which informs all parties involved of the advice issued by the TCT. The TCT keeps an overview of the opinions given on this site.

List of spray drift reducing nozzles

March 29, 2017

Competent bodies

March 29, 2017

Useful links

Add some more info about this item...

April 27, 2017

Please reload

bottom of page