Arrangements for using those pesticide products which require a buffer ("no spray") zone when being applied through horizontal boom sprayers next to watercourses such as streams, ponds and dry ditches were introduced in March 1999 and revised in 2001. they broadly cover three distinct areas:
Pesticides with a watercourse buffer zone requirement fall into two categories. For category "A" products (organophosphate and synthetic pyrethroid insecticides) reducing the size of the buffer zone is not an option as this might lead to an unacceptable risk. Consequently, a LERAP is not required and users must always apply (and record) the standard buffer zone (5m or 1m for a dry ditch).
The remaining, Category "B", products do qualify for inclusion in the LERAP scheme when they are applied through a horizontal boom sprayer. There is a legal obligation at the time of spraying for users to either carry out, record and comply with a LERAP (to determine whether the size of the buffer zone may be redued), or to simply decide to apply the standard buffer zone 5m or 1m for a dry ditch) - this decision must be recorded.
For the latest information in products listed in Category "A" and Category "B", contact the Chemicals Regulation Directorate, Monthly updates are also published in the "Pesticide Monitor", and is also available on the CRD website.
The LERAP can be undertaken by spray operators themselves, their employers or the farmer or grower with whom they have contracted to work. It may also be undertaken by a professional consultant or adviser.
It is the legal responsibility of the person using the pesticide to carry out the LERAP, or to check that it has been proerly carried out, and that a written record has been kept.
Remember that the watercourse need not be immediately next to the field where the application is to take place. Even if there is another feature between the watecourse and the field (eg. it may be on the opposite side of a hedge or farm track), a buffer zone and therefore a LERAP, will still be required (but the width of the intervening feature can be included in the buffer zone).
Instead of measuring the buffer zone from the edge of the water, the distance is now measured from the top of the bank of the watercourse. Consequently, for horizontal boom sprayers the standard buffer zone is now five metres (from the top of the bank), rather than six metres from the waters edge. Similarly, the buffer zone for hand held sprayers is now one metre rather than two.
For a dry ditch, users must adopt a one metre buffer zone, measured from the top of the bank. This applies to both Category "A" and Category "B" products.
Full details on the LERAP Scheme, especially where tank-mixes are used, see "Horizontal Boom Sprayers LERAP" (ref PB5621) also available free from DEFRA publications (08459 556000)
None of the foregoing arrangements apply to pesticide products applied by broadcast air-assisted orchard or hop sprayers - for those a separate LERAP Scheme has been introduced. Also buffer zones deisgned for purposes other than the protection of water remain unaffected.
Spray record sheets - Provision for recording the results of LERAPs has been included in the spray record sheets we have available to download.
The decision process which need to be considered when carrying out a LERAP are shown in a "decision tree" diagram on the carrying out a LERAP page.