Supplementary information to the "Pesticide Handling Area" information sheet regarding permitting

In addition to the information on the updated "Pesticide Handing Area" information sheet, the following information is relevant regarding permitting, should any operator wish to land spread pesticide washings the ground.

All cleaning and wash down operations that do not take place “in the crop” are regarded by Environment Agencies as “disposal”. This means that disposal or treatment areas other than the crop (or to a biobed / a biofilter  see below) will require a permit from your local Environment Agency.

If any operator wishes to land spread pesticide washings the ground, then that is a groundwater activity under EPR 2016 and an environmental permit (as a groundwater activity Groundwater risk assessment for your environmental permit) would be required – but this is often NOT possible- see next paragraph. The fees and charges associated with this activity are given at

( . If discharging pesticides (other than sheep dip) -see section 1.3.21 - the application fee is £2708 and the annual fee is £342.  The permit is valid indefinitely, though subject to EA review. In Scotland there is a whole farm application fee and annual subsistence fee. (Note any changes to a permit after it is issued then needs to be advised to the local Environment Agency).


As part of this permit application, a hydrogeological risk assessment must be undertaken to ensure the proposed activity would not result in any breach of the fundamental “prevent or limit” objectives i.e.

(a)     to prevent the input of any hazardous substance to groundwater, and

(b)     to limit the input of non-hazardous pollutants to groundwater so as to ensure that such inputs do not cause pollution of groundwater (Groundwater protection technical guidance)


These objectives (they come originally from the Water Framework Directive and GW Directive) and the Water Framework Regs 2017 and explicitly in Schedule 22 of EPR 2016.


The Environment Agency would not permit any predicted pesticide input to groundwater that threatened the integrity of the groundwater (Protect groundwater and prevent groundwater pollution) above the current drinking water standard – see also Surface water pollution risk assessment for your environmental permit - GOV.UK ( and the permit would have sufficient (bespoke) permitting controls (e.g. hydraulic loading rates, etc) to ensure that this wouldn’t happen. The permit is there to ensure the land spreading activity can still happen, but in an environmentally acceptable manner.