Using pesticides and biocides

Published by:
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO
Checked 5 Jul 2023
4 min read
Nederlandse versie

Do you need to control pests and weeds? If you use pesticides such as plant protection products and biocides, you have to follow certain rules.

Which pesticides are there?

There are different kinds of pesticides:

Which pesticides are permitted?

You may only use pesticides that:

These are pesticides the Board for the Authorisation of Plant Protection Products and Biocides (Ctgb) has approved. decides which products are permitted. As a producer you can apply for authorisation of new pesticides to Ctgb.

New products

Producers can ask Ctgb for permission to use new protection products. If you intend to use biological pest control, you might need a dispensation for some products (in Dutch). You apply for this dispensation to the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO, in Dutch).

The European Commission decides on the admission of specific active substances in the EU. They do so in accordance with the Biocidal Products Regulation. You can look up which active substances are allowed in the EU Pesticides Database. However, before a plant protection product can be sold on the Dutch market, you need authorisation from the Ctgb.

Licence for chemical pesticides

Plant protection products and biocides are chemical pesticides. If you use, sell, buy, or store professional chemical pesticides, you must have a chemical pesticide licence (in Dutch). You do not need a licence if it is not a professional pesticide. The label will tell you whether it is a professional pesticide.

Exemption for biological pesticides

Biological pesticides are natural enemies of diseases, pests, and weeds. For example, predatory mites, parasitic wasps, or other predators and parasites. Sometimes biological control can be harmful to plants and animals. You need an exemption for species that are not mentioned in annexes 8 and 9 of the Nature Protection Act (Regeling natuurbescherming, in Dutch). You can request an exemption for biological pesticides through RVO (in Dutch).

Prohibited pesticides

A number of pesticides are banned (in Dutch) for crops attractive to bees (open cultivation). You are not allowed to spray with the neonicotinoids: clothianidin, thiamethoxam, and imidacloprid. However, you may use these substances in some cases. The label states how and on which crop you may use a pesticide with neonicotinoids. For example: for crops in a greenhouse, after flowering, or on winter cereals.

If a plant protection product is not on the Ctgb's list of authorised plant protection products, it is a prohibited pesticide and you are not allowed to use it.

Proof of professional competence

Are you a professional pest controller? You must have proof of professional competence for controlling pests and wood-boring organisms. You have to take training and an exam for this. The certificate is valid for 5 years, then you need to renew your certificate. To renew you have to take periodic training and prove that you worked according to the rules for the last 5 years.

You can apply for a certificate of competence to the Register for Pest Control, Environment and Safety (Register Plaagdierbescherming Milieu en Veiligheid RPMV, in Dutch) or the Certification Institute Pest Control, Environment and Public Health (Certificeringsinstituut Plaagdierbeheersing, Milieu en Volksgezondheid CPMV, in Dutch).

If you use chemical crop protection agents in you business, you need a crop protection licence (spraying licence) (in Dutch) from the Recognitions Agency (Bureau Erkenningen).

Crop protection monitor

You must have a crop protection monitoring system (in Dutch). You must keep track of all measures taken each growing season. You record for instance the use of biological agents or mechanical weed control. You also record data such as crop rotation, choice of crops and basic planting material, emission reduction measures, and your choice and use of crop protection agents.

Reducing spread of crop protection agents

Do you cultivate crops in greenhouses? You must remove the crop protection agents from the wastewater (in Dutch). Do you cultivate crops outdoors? You must take measures to reduce the spread of crop protection agents (drift) (in Dutch) by at least 75%. This must be done for the whole terrain, regardless of whether a ditch splits your terrain, or the distance of the waterway from the terrain.

Cleaning packaging material and equipment

You must clean out the packaging of crop protection products (in Dutch) immediately after use. You do this in the prescribed way with the prescribed equipment. You must also clean the equipment correctly. You have to make sure none of the product ends up in the sewage system or in a waterway. You must surrender packaging and plant protection product residue as industrial waste or small chemical waste (Klein chemisch afval, kca).

Spraying equipment inspection

Do you use spraying equipment and machines for spraying crop protection products? You need to have the equipment and machines tested at least once every 3 years by a recognised inspection company (in Dutch).

Soil disinfection

You can disinfect soil to eradicate plant diseases (in Dutch). You can so in several ways and this is allowed for a number of crop groups. Do you plan to chemically disinfect the soil (in Dutch)? You must report chemical soil disinfection at least 3 weeks in advance to the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (Nederlandse Voedsel en Warenautoriteit, NVWA, in Dutch). You must report each plot you disinfect separately.

Could your business activities cause soil contamination? You must take preventive measures.

This webpage is part of an EU quality network