Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Friday 28 April 2017

Ireland makes first push to secure future of nitrates derogation

Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Ireland recently made its first push to secure the future availability of nitrates derogations to Irish farmers.

The derogation which enables farmers who meet strict conditions to increase this application limit to 250 kg of nitrogen per hectare per annum is currently availed off by some 7,000 farmers.

The derogation is of particular importance to more intensively stocked farms.

The Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government Simon Coveney, assisted by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, has embarked on a review of its Nitrates Action Programme with the European Commission, with a view to having in place by 2018, an agreed Nitrates Action Programme that will run from 2018 to 2021.

In addition, a request for a new Nitrates derogation has been submitted to the Commission as part of the review process.

The Department of Agriculture has said that agreeing a new action programme and securing derogation is a significant objective for 2017. 

Ireland has engaged with the Commission and the timetable for the review has been established.

Four presentations have to be made to the Nitrates Committee which is an expert scientific group composed of representatives of each member state and chaired by the Commission.

Presentations focus on water quality, Ireland’s agricultural profile, proposed changes to protect and improve water quality and Irelands derogation. The first presentation was made recently.

Renewal of Irelands derogation will only be discussed when the Commission are satisfied that the package of measures proposed by Ireland for 2018-2021 will help to protect and improve water quality.

The final presentation which will focus on the potential derogation will be made just before Christmas.

There will then be a vote by all Member States on whether or not Ireland’s derogation will be approved.

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