Lily grower v. Residents

No description
Final judgment
Netherlands, Arnhem-Leeuwarden

Economic stakeholders, Farmers
Lily grower
Neighbour, Individual
M. S.C.A. Nuijen

Civil court
Summary proceedings
Challenge the summary order prohibiting the lily grower from applying or having applied pesticides on parcels near the defendants' places of residence or activities.
Court of Appeal of Arnhem-Leeuwarden, Netherlands

July 10, 2023
The Court of Appeal overturns the judgment of the Dutch Northern District Court of June 12, 2023, and authorizes the lily company to use only 4 pesticides for the 2023 crop on the disputed plots.

On July 10 2023, the Arnhem-Leeuwarden Court of Appeal, dealing with a request to suspend the interim measures previously imposed in first instance, which prohibited a company growing lily flowers from spraying pesticides on certain plots because of the risk of serious adverse effect for the health of local residents, partially overturned the decision of the Northern Netherlands Tribunal. As a result, the company is authorized to use pesticides again on the plots.

According to the Northern Netherlands Tribunal, considering the current state of science, and in particular studies on the spread of pesticides via suspended particles, the lily grower's behavior violated European regulations stipulating that pesticides must not be harmful to humans, despite the numerous measures taken to reduce the risks. The risk of serious adverse effects for people living close to the fields where spraying takes place every week had to outweigh the economic loss for the lily grower, which is a purely ornamental crop, not a food crop. In a summary order dated June 12, 2023, the Tribunal therefore prohibited the lily grower from spraying pesticides on these plots.

In its decision, the Court of Appeal considered, among other things, that the link between the exposure to pesticides suffered by farmers, their families and local residents in the course of their work or their residential environment, leading to a higher health risk, had not been established with certainty. The Court also noted, among other things, that the lily-growing company used pesticides composed of 75% organic products and partially regulated by a national organic certification body, and that it had set up a buffer zone between the lily plots and local residents, in the form of 9 meters of corn.

The Court of Appeal thereby reauthorized the lily-growing company to use pesticides within the limit of four products exhaustively listed and preliminarily identified by the defendant company : Rudis-12970 N, Titus-11393 N, Goltix WG-8629 N and Olie-H 6598-N, with the intent to reduce the risk of a cocktail effect. Amongst those four products, only one is authorized in organic agriculture.

The local residents have been sentenced to pay the costs both of the first instance and the appeal for a quantum of 6. 618 euros, excluding those having waived their claims before the appeal. The proceedings on the merits will determine whether or not the use of certain pesticides for the cultivation of lilies was illegal.