More flexible nitrates rules needed, Ó Cuív

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture, Éamon Ó Cuív TD, has called on the Government to adopt a more flexible approach when it comes to the Nitrates Directive.

Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív has been informed by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine and the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government that they are reviewing the Nitrates Action Programme, under the Nitrates Directive.

He added: “Under the Nitrates Directive, the dates under which substances like slurry can be spread are set. At present this is causing great difficulty for farmers due to the fact that during the time slurry and fertiliser can be spread, the weather is often totally unsuitable.

“A much more flexible approach should be taken that takes nature into account and optimises the time that slurry can be spread, both from a farmer’s point of view and to minimise pollution. Prescription farming does not work and it would be much better to base our policies on the outcomes rather than rigid dates that take no account of the weather.

“It is very important now that farming interests make comprehensive submissions to the review and these must be made by June 12th. These submissions will be given full consideration by the Environment Minister and the Agriculture Minister.”

With the EU Nitrates Directive, Ireland’s Nitrates Action Programme, which is currently given effect by the European Communities (Good Agricultural Practice for the Protection of Water) Regulations 2010 (as amended), must be reviewed this year.

The Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government and the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, now invite comment on the current NAP and are seeking observations on and suggestions for amendment of the programme.

A consultation paper has been issued by both Ministers. The document is available on the Departments’ websites www.environ.ie and www.agriculture.gov.ie.

The deadline for consultations is this week 13th June.

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