Pollution of water worry
Just 1kg of phosphorus when present as phosphate will pollute a staggering 29m litres of water, farmers at the Teagasc Agri-Environment conference were told last Thursday.
Donal Daly, from the Environmental Protection Agency, told the conference delegates that the main pollution threats from farming were faeces and urine from animals and inorganic fertilisers, not organic fertiliser spreading.
He warned that in order to meet the objectives of both the Food Harvest 2020 report and the Water Framework Directive, control of nutrient losses was essential. This would involve minimising leakage of nutrients from the soil and farmyards, increased buffer zones, riparian zones and preventing cattle from entering streams.
First EIA bid near success
The first screening application under the controversial new Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive has been received by the Department of Agriculture.
The confidential application, made by a farmer for improvement works on his farm, has already been subject to a site inspection and is believed to be close to being approved.
Department official Bill Callanan said the definition of uncultivated or semi-natural grassland would be clarified in its guidance document as it was not intended to bring 80pc of Ireland's grassland under the regulations.
However, he warned that drainage plans for land next to NATURA sites would require screening.