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Spray buffer zones are becoming increasingly complex

Many products have a minimum buffer zone that must be adhered to when next to a watercourse. Arthropod buffer zones are advisory for some products, but have compulsory conditions
of use for others. Products are likely to have crop-specific buffer zones in the future, so it is always important to check the label.

There are now four schemes:
1. Arthropod buffer zones
2. Interim scheme
3. LERAP A and B
4. Drift Reducing Technology (DRT) scheme

The rules are legally binding so breaching regulations could result in enforcement action, including prosecution against the operator or employer. Make sure you know your buffer zones.

Arthropod Buffer Zones

  • Designed to protect arthropods and non-target insects
  • Applies to all field boundaries
  • Label-specific and non-reducible
  • Some boundaries must be adhered to (statutory), others are advisory (non-statutory) 
    • Statutory - product is deemed a ‘high risk’ to non-target insects – buffer zone must be implemented:
      • Key words on label include ‘respect’ and 'DO NOT'
    • Advisory – recommends the use of a buffer zone to protect non-target insects:
      • Key words on label include ‘avoid’ and 'precautions'
      • Buffer zone is defined as the field boundary or the edge of the non-cropped land (land taken out of permanent production (5 years or more) check label
  •  Buffer zone can vary depending on crop type

LERAP A + B

Local Environment Risk Assessment for Pesticides

  • Designed to protect aquatic life
  • Statutory requirement at application by operator
  • Record sheet must be kept for 3 years

LERAP A – BUFFER ZONE 5M NON-REDUCIBLE
Cannot be reduced, reduction to 1m is possible if ditch is dry

LERAP B – BUFFER ZONE REDUCIBLE
Can be reduced to 1m if:

  • Ditch is dry
  • 3* application technology used
  • ¼ maximum dose rate

Or 2m if:

  • Width water course >6m
  • 2* application technology used

Interim Scheme

  •  Designed to protect aquatic life
  •  Dependent on crop types

INTERIM SCHEME (AQUATIC BUFFER)  ≤ 5M ON PRODUCT LABEL – REDUCIBLE BUFFER ZONE
Can be reduced to 1m by carrying out a LERAP if:

  • Ditch is dry
  • 3* application technology used
  • ¼ maximum dose rate

Or 2m if:

  • Width water course >6m
  • 2* application technology used

INTERIM SCHEME (AQUATIC BUFFER) 6-20M ON PRODUCT LABEL – NON-REDUCIBLE BUFFER ZONE
Cannot be reduced – distance can vary depending on crop

Drift Reduction Technology (DRT) Scheme

  • Allows the use of Drift Reducing Technology (DRT). Allows use of products that would otherwise be unregisterable because of their aquatic toxicity that may have been banned due to water issues
  • Irrespective of watercourse width/size
  • DRT buffer stipulated on label of either 6m, 12m or 18m – non-reducible
  • Secondary buffer zone of 30m – reducible using 3 star Drift Reduction Technology
  • No dry ditch caveat

6m, 12m or 18m cannot be reduced, up to 30m – 3* Drift Reduction Technology, distance can vary depending on crop.