Certain plant protection products have an aquatic buffer zone requirement when applied by horizontal boom or broadcast air-assisted sprayers. If you want to reduce this aquatic buffer zone, there is a legal obligation to carry out and record a Local Environment Risk Assessment for Pesticides (LERAP). For horizontal boom sprayers it is only possible to reduce buffer zones of 5 metres; buffer zones of greater than 5 metres cannot be reduced.
If you just want to apply the buffer zone specified on the label you don’t have to carry out a LERAP. But you are still legally obliged to record this decision as normal in your spray records, as advised in section 6 of the updated Code of Practice for Using Plant Protection Products (keeping spray records) (originally in Part 4 of the Code of Practice for the Safe Use of Pesticides on Farms and Holdings (Green Code)).
Some products specify use of drift reduction technology (DRT) recognised as having LERAP three star low-drift status and a buffer zone of 6, 12 or 18 m (as necessary for each crop) as a condition of authorisation for horizontal boom spraying. The specified distance must be recorded in Section A of the LERAP record form. Authorisations issued under these arrangements also specify a second buffer zone of 30 m, beyond which use of DRT is not required. This is necessary to protect watercourses from higher rates of drift arising from use of standard spraying equipment and procedures. These distances cannot be reduced under the LERAP scheme.
Both schemes are fully described in two scheme booklets and an additional guide to the interim extension to the horizontal boom LERAP scheme. You can download them here.
Note: all references to the Green Code in these booklets should now refer to the updated Code of Practice for Using Plant Protection Products.
Authorised products with aquatic buffer zone restrictions.
You can search for information on recent changes and future developments as well as the current position on individual products. For the products considered under the interim extension to the LERAP scheme and those with three star DRT aquatic buffer zones, you will need to use the Product Search. Select ‘Search for Products by Specifying Authorisation Features’ and choose under LERAP category for example ‘crop over 5 m’.
Equipment awarded LERAP low-drift star ratings.
CRD recognises the spray equipment listed as having a ‘ LERAP - low drift status’. For the purposes of the LERAP scheme all spray equipment not formally recognised by CRD as having ‘ LERAP - low drift’ status should be considered as a ‘standard reference sprayer’; irrespective of any manufacturer's claims.
Sample LERAP Record Form
LERAP record form (pdf, 1 page)
A short and simple form for you to download and print.
Online Arable Buffer Zone Calculator
A handy way to work out your arable buffer zone.
You'll need a Java enabled version of Microsoft Internet Explorer 4 (or later) or Netscape Navigator 4 (or later) to run the calculator.