In The Netherlands, agricultural activities are one of the major diffuse sources of nutrients and crop protection chemicals. A national legal and regulatory framework has been developed to combat the environmental burden from the agricultural industry. This resulted in the implementation of a government decree (AMvB) in the year 2000. Under pressure from NGOs, the Hollandse Eilanden en Waarden Water Board worked on a regional regulation in advance of this national legislation. ZHEW followed an approach of research, communication and partnering prior to implementing the national decree. The most important result of the chosen approach is that compliance with one of the most important measures, the crop-free zone, is close to 100%. There has been little improvement in the amount of pesticides in the open waters. Both water board and farmers are positive about the approach followed. Monitoring and evaluation proved to be essential when communicating with the agricultural sector. The results of attempts to influence behaviour must be recorded in order maintain the motivation to change behaviour. Information on the effects of the approach adopted to combating diffuse agricultural sources is gathered from a number of sources.

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