FRANCE: Experimental use of pilotless aircrafts for pesticides spraying

The agriculture and food law, also called EGalim law authorises the experimental use of pilotless aircrafts, for a 3-year period (October 2018 – October 2021), for aerial spraying of plant protection products authorised in organic farming or within in certified farms, authorised for aerial spraying,and limited to crop areas with a slope equal to or higher than 30% (article 82).

This experiment aims at assessing the benefits of the use of pilotless aircrafts for the limitation of work-related accident  and for the application of pesticides.

It should be implemented in accordance with the French regulation as regards pilotless aircrafts, in particular Orders dated 18 May 2018 and 17 December 2015.

The EGAlim law sets that the experiment should be assessed by Anses. The law also sets that the conditions and modalities of this experiment should be defined by a joint order signed by the ministers of environment, agriculture and health, to ensure that there is no unacceptable risk for the Health and for the Environment.


The draft Order was proposed for public consultation from 26 June to 17 July 2019. The public comments (in French), the synthesis of the consultation (in French) and the reasons for decision (in French) have just been published.


At the same time, after being seized on 23 May 2019 by the Managing Director for food, the Managing Director for Health and the Managing Director for the prevention of risks, Anses has published a scientific and technical support note as regards « the implementation of experimental use of pilotless aircrafts for plant protection products spraying » (in French).

In this note, Anses indicates which guidelines should be considered and also which key data should be collected so that the experiment could achieve its goals:

A – Work-related accident Risk assessment when using pilotless aircrafts for spraying.

B – Operator and other actors exposure assessment during the mixing, loading, spraying and cleaning phases.

C – Spray drift assessment with the material used and assessment of the environmental exposure.

D – Other relevant criteria in the framework of the experiment and its goals, such as spray quality and efficacy.


References :

Public consultation: Draft Order as regards the implementation of experimental use of pilotless aircrafts for pesticide spraying (in French)


Order of 18 May 2018 as regards the requirements applicable to pilots using pilotless aircrafts for purposes other than leisure (in French)

Order of 17 December 2015 as regards the use of airspace by pilotless aircrafts (in French)

Order of 17 December 2015 as regards the pilotless aircarft design, conditions of use and abilities of people who use them (in French)


Our previous articles:

FRANCE: New Agriculture and Food law published


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