Fears boom in milk industry will damage water quality
INCREASING milk production by 50pc will impact on water quality due to pollution, environmentalists have warned.
And some processing facilities may not be licensed to increase output because local waters are unable to absorb the additional discharge that would be required.
Among the key environmental concerns arising from increased output include the use of nitrogen fertiliser, which is already posing an environmental problem in the south of the country.
This is the same region which is earmarked for much of the expansion as milk quotas come to an end.
Environmentalists claim the boom in the number of dairy cows will lead to poorer water quality as a result of overuse of fertiliser.
"If we are expanding dairying, we are going to have to intensify grass production," John Gibbons from An Taisce said.
"Farmers are going to lash on more nitrogen and that will inevitably end up in our waterways. There will also be a huge increase in slurry output."
The HSE has also warned that the risk of water-borne zoonotic illness, or diseases that can be passed from animals, had potentially been "underestimated".