BCPChas responded to the recent Chemical Regulation Directorate (CRD) consultationon the adoption of low-drift nozzles within updated interim measures foraquatic buffer zones. These interim measures were introduced in 2011, inresponse to increased standards for protecting aquatic life in the new EUpesticide regulations. They established the possible setting of aquatic bufferzone widths for individual products above the 5 metres maximum in LERAPs upto 20 metres. On introduction, there was no opportunity to reduce the width byusing drift reduction technologies (DRTs).
BCPC believes that the proposed introduction of the option to use low-driftnozzles in the updated interim measures will still protect aquatic life frompesticides. It will also provide the opportunity for more products to beauthorised and reduce the crop area not protected against weeds, diseasesand/or pests. However, BCPC is concerned that the proposed changes onlyinvolves drift reducing nozzles rather than all DRTs. Other DRTs, which offerat least 75% reduction in drift, equivalent to using 3-star nozzles, arealready accredited by CRD under LERAPs, says Jim Orson, Vice Chairman of BCPC.
In the longer-term BCPC strongly advocates integrating the interim measureswith LERAPs. LERAPs incentivise farmers to adopt good spray practice. This hasresulted in the widespread adoption of DRTs, with significant benefit to theenvironment. It also takes the size of the watercourse and product dose intoaccount. Integrating the proposed changes in the Interim Scheme into LERAPswould result in a single set of rules for protecting the aquatic environmentfrom spray drift that would be easier to understand and adopt, says Mr Orson.In addition, innovation will be further encouraged by extending DRT classes tothose that reduce drift by 90%, 95%, etc. as already used in some otherMember States.