The Pesticides Action Network has dismissed suggestions that a crop spraying notification system is unworkable, pointing out that one exists in New Zealand.

Alison Craig, spokeswoman for PAN UK, said the NZ system allowed farmers to notify neighbours with just one phone call.

She is hoping that the system can be trialled in the UK.

“I think this system would balance the needs of farmers with the needs of the individuals that want information,” she said.

In NZ there is a legal requirement to notify neighbouring properties of planned spraying operations, typically at least 12 hours in advance.

In response to this demand, Tauranga-based company Spraywatch has worked with technology company Panztel to come up with an automated system which spray operators can subscribe to.

With one telephone call to the company, they indicate which fields are going to be sprayed and with what.

Spraywatch’s systems then relay the message to all neighbouring properties.

Calls can be programmed to be made at set times, and to mobile or landline numbers.

Geoff Signal, operations manager for kiwi-fruit co-operative Satara, said the system worked very well.

“Now, with one call a day, we can deliver as many messages as necessary.

It saves us a lot of paperwork and phonework.”