50pc of farmers fail Nitrates test
Half of all farms selected for local authority nitrates inspections last year were found to be in breach of the rules, figures obtained by the Farming Independent reveal.
Department of Agriculture inspectors carried out more than 4,900 Nitrates Directive inspections at the behest of local authorities between 2010 and 2012.
Some 1,669 farms were inspected for breaches of the Nitrates Directive last year, prompted by officials in the local county council.
Of the 1,669 farms inspected, 827 or 49.5pc were found to have breached the rules and 690 farms (41.3pc) incurred a financial sanction.
The vast majority (1,345) of farms selected for nitrates inspections by local authorities last year were chosen based on risk selection, while the remainder (324) were chosen at random.
And it appears some county councils pursue nitrates issues more fervently than others.
Cork topped the list, with 297 local authority-sanctioned nitrates inspections last year, followed by Tipperary, where 196 farms were inspected for nitrates issues. In Cork, 110 farmers, or 37pc, of those inspected were issued with a financial penalty.
The penalty rate was more severe in Co Tipperary, where 124 farmers, or 63pc, of those inspected were fined for nitrates breaches.