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Title: The Economics of No-Spray Zones - a Study of the Risks and Benefits of Pesticide No-Spray Restrictions
Author: A Foottit M Postle
Author: Environment Agency
Document Type: Monograph
Annotation: Environment Agency Project ID:EAPRJOUT_398, Representation ID: 110, Object ID: 1740
Of the 11,500 or so licensed pesticide products in the UK. approximately 120 fungicidal, 72 insecticidal and 129 herbicidal products require the provision of a no-spray zone for pesticide applications on land adjacent to watercourses. The status of such no-spray zones is currently being reviewed by the Buffer Zones Policy Group. This study has been commissioned by the Environment Agency to provide a preliminary examination of the costs, risks and benefits associated with provisions for no-spray zones. The study timescale has been relatively short as the aim has been to provide timely information to the Buffer Zone Policy Group on the private costs to farmers arising from nospray zones and of the changes in environmental risks and benefits associated with their use. The private costs to farmers associated with no-spray zones have been assess in conjunction with a parallel study that the Consultants are undertaking for the Department of the Environment (aThe Private Costs and Benefits of Pesticide Minimisationa - EPG:l ./S/30). This study has involved additional work on the assessment of changes in environmental risk levels and ecological disturbance. This has involved the development of two-risk benefit models. This report presents the results of the final stage of the study. The analysis provides a variety of information regarding the effectiveness and cost of current restrictions. It also provides data on the influence of zone size and increases in the number of pesticides covered by restrictions on the effectiveness of no-spray zones as a whole. In terms of estimating the costs to farmers associated with the implementation of no-spray zones, the implications of maintaining some (or all) production within zones are subject to considerable variation depending on locations, situation, etc. Consequently, a worst case approach based on the wholesale removal of zones from production has been used in this assessment. It is estimated that, if farmers were to remove all 6m no-spray zones from production, the net national cost would be around E50m per year. Under the current restrictions it is estimated that the cost to farmers will be a maximum of around Lm per year, In a situation where all farmers received Countryside Stewardship Scheme (CSS) grants as compensation for removing no-spray zones from production, there would be a net national private benefit to farmers of around E20m per year (although there are obviously significant costs to the Exchequer with this level of compensation). In terms of environmental risks, there are many difficulties associated with the expression of the aactuala risks posed by spray drift. However, changes in risk levels have been expressed in relative terms for each of the scenarios under consideration. . R and D Technical Report P71 ... 111 Three scenarios have been selected: . . . awithouta - where no pesticide applications are covered by no-spray restrictions; apresenta - where a number of identified pesticides carry 6m restrictions; and awitha - where all pesticides carry 6m no-spray zone restrictions. zone Terrestrial and aquatic risk scores have been derived for three representative crops under each of the scenarios using a combination of data including: . . . . . . . pesticides and active ingredients used; area treated; concentration of active ingredients; degree of drift and deposition; persistence; mobility; and toxicity. Bioassay mortality data have also been applied in a separate analysis to provide context to the changes in levels of environmental risk described above. This has been carried out for all scenarios. The results of the study suggest that a 50% reduction in environmental risks is not possible under the current restrictions, regardless of the size of no-spray zone. The data suggests that the only means by which current restrictions could effect a 50% reduction in environmental risk with a 6m no-spray zone would be by significantly increasing the number of pesticides that are a 6m restriction. Under a situation where all pesticides were covered by no-spray restrictions, data suggests that a 50% reduction in risk would be achieved by a zone width of around 2m from the edge of the crop, equating to a distance of 4m from the wateras edge. Where all pesticides are covered by restrictions, the relationship between farmeras cost and levelof risk reduction suggests that an 80% reduction in risks provides an optimum level of investment. This is equivalent to a zone width to the edge of the crop of around 5.5-6m on all pesticides, witha net national cost of around E50m per year. It should be noted that such a zone would provide a distance of 7.5-8m from the wateras edge. The following recommenations have been made: NSZ restrictions next to watercourses should be extended to cover all pesticides and the width of zone should reflect the level of risk reductions that is a) desirable; and b) cost-effective in terms of farmersa investment. In order to reduce the costs to farmers associated with NSZ provisions, consideration should be given to an alteration in the current Arable Area Payment Rules to allow farmers to re-distribute setaside land to within field margins and NSZs. This would allow the operation of NSZs without significant costs to the farmer. R and D Technical Report P71 iv Consideration should be given to a scheme aimed at classifying those watercourses which would benefit most from a ablanketa NSZ either in terms of the nature/quality of the watercourse or their geographical area. The interim report for this study highlighted a possible anomaly between predicted and actual effects of drift and deposition. In light of the possible underestimation by modelled deposition, further research should be undertaken to identify more reliable estimates of drift/depostiion and its effection with distance. If possible, this should feed into decisions regarding the size of NSZs required to provide an adequate level of protection to both terrestrial and aquatic habitats.
Publisher: Environment Agency
Subject Keywords: Economic appraisal; Pesticidess; No-spray zones; Buffer strips
Extent: 59
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