Assessment of topics with regard to specific agricultural use in the Netherlands
To achieve European harmonisation, the Board supports the line of policy to deviate as little as possible at the national level from European authorisations for plant protection products. Regarding WERG (mutual recognition) and CMS (Concerned Member State) applications, the Ctgb generally adopts the authorisations of other EU Member States.
National specific elements
The ‘national specific elements’ that are assessed, if relevant, are:
- leaching to groundwater
- wind speed
- drinking water from surface water
If the evaluating Member State applies different agricultural principles compared to the Netherlands, these topics must be assessed for the application in the Netherlands. The assessment of topics with regard to specific agricultural use in the Netherlands is included in the evaluation manual.
In addition the Board may conduct an additional assessment or refuse the authorisation of a product in case of a potential unacceptable risk to people, animals or the environment.
The Netherlands is located on a river delta with relatively high water tables in combination with intensive land use. In our country, we abstract about 60% of our drinking water from groundwater, partially from shallow aquifers. This combination of high water tables and intensive land use makes the Netherlands vulnerable to leaching of pesticides to groundwater.
Relative to the other Member States (with the exception of the United Kingdom and Ireland), the Netherlands has a high average wind speed. As a result, the risk of drift due to the wind is greater. Therefore, the Netherlands has previously used its own drift values, except for assessments conducted by the United Kingdom or Ireland. Currently, researchers in Europe are working on a model with which the drift values in European countries with differing wind speeds can be compared.
Drinking water abstraction
The risks of plant protection products for drinking water abstraction are not assessed anywhere in Europe. The Netherlands is the only European country with a decision tree assessing the risk of abstracting drinking water from surface water. Where necessary, this decision tree will be used in a supplementary fashion for the situation in the Netherlands.
The European Union recognises the principle of free movement of goods. This principle also applies to plant protection products. However, these products, due to their risks for humans, animals and the environment, are subject to special legislation: the Regulation on Plant Protection Products. The advantage is that applicants and authorisation holders can enter the European market with less administrative burden. For citizens, professional users and the agricultural sector, the advantage is that the same set of products is available everywhere under equal terms. For the agricultural sector, for example, this also promotes fair competition. Given these societal advantages, harmonisation is an important principle.