With the entry into force on 01 January 2020 of the Order and Decree of 27 December 2019 that aim at strengthening the protection of residents living nearby crop areas treated with plant protection products (PPP), the French Ministry of Agriculture and Food has published a Technical Instruction providing additional details to the Prefects and to the (Regional) Departments for Food, Agriculture and Forestry (DRAAF and DAAF) for the implementation of the new system.
As a reminder, from 01 January 2020, new minimum safety distances apply between PPP spreading zones (in agricultural and non-agricultural areas) and residential areas or places with vulnerable people. Safety distances can be reduced near homes via Charters of Commitments at the departmental level proposed by PPP users. These Charters will be subject to public consultation and will become applicable after their approval by the Prefects.
The Instruction specifies that to date only drift reduction technologies approved by the French Ministry of Agriculture for their effectiveness can allow a reduction in safety distances. In the future, alternative methods (e.g. hedges, nets) could be taken into account providing that studies demonstrate their effectiveness and that the methods are acknowledged by Anses.
The Instruction reminds that in the absence of an approved Charter, or when the commitments of the approved Charter cannot be implemented, PPP applications must comply with safety distances, without any reduction possible. However, users involved in a draft Charter proposal subject to public consultation are allowed to anticipate the reductions in safety distances – provided drift reduction technologies as defined in Annex 4 to the Order of 27 December 2019 are applied – pending approval of the Charter and until 30 June 2020.
Finally, the Prefects will have to ensure that before 30 June 2020, the existing measures for the protection of vulnerable people (set in application of Article L.253-7-1 of the French Rural Code) are consistent with the new Order of 27 December 2019: i.e. the safety distances must at least be equal to that defined in the Order.
Technical Instruction DGAL/SDQSPV/2020-87 of 03 february 2020 as regards enforcement of the new system for protecting residents protection des riverains that might be exposed to plant protection products (No. NOR AGRG2003727C) (in French).
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