Hogan calls for realistic Nitrates review
A COMMON-sense approach to the review of the Nitrates Directive has been demanded by Fine Gael environment spokesman Phil Hogan TD.
Deputy Hogan said changes to the directive should be based on science rather than ideology and must take account of the concerns of commercial farmers.
He called on the Minister for the Environment John Gormley and the Fianna Fáil/Green Government to adopt a "proportionate response" to the review process.
"In particular, the Minister for the Environment should heed the scientific proposals and recommendations that have been put forward by Teagasc, which will implement a regime that will meet the EU Nitrates Directive criteria," Deputy Hogan said.
"It is essential that the balanced proposals put forward by Teagasc, which has compiled this research in respect of the application of the EU Nitrates Directive, are taken on board.
"I call on the Fianna Fáil ministers to ensure that a common-sense approach to the implementation of the Nitrates Directive is adopted, and to prevent Minister Gormley from adopting yet another ideological and unreasonable set of proposals."
Meanwhile, Fine Gael agriculture spokesman, Andrew Doyle has expressed serious concerns that the malting barley industry could be severely damaged by nitrates regulations.
Deputy Doyle said malting barley producers were struggling to maintain high protein levels in their crops because of restrictions on fertiliser usage.
"When it comes to the production of malting barley, the facts are clear," he said. "Teagasc has undertaken excellent research in the area which showed that, under the current regulations, yields are suffering and suffering to a major extent.
"This is because the current nitrogen allowance is not allowing malting barley producers to get sufficient protein into their crops.
"This obviously results in lower yields and there are serious dangers here for malting barley producers."
The Fine Gael spokesman insisted: "When it comes to the Nitrates Directive, levels of environmental compliance need to be maintained, but the practical implications for farmers must also be taken into account.
"There must be a way to alter the regulations governing malting barley production without harming the environment."
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