Public consultation on nitrates derogation opens

The commencement of a public consultation on conditions contained in Ireland’s nitrates derogation has been announced by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The consultation will be conducted in cooperation with the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, the Department of Agriculture said in its announcement today (Monday, April 1).

This consultation is “part of a review process examining further opportunities for derogation farmers to improve efficiencies and continue to reduce their environmental footprint”, according to the department.

The derogation is an important facility for more intensive farmers, particularly in the dairy sector, and it is essential that its environmental credentials are maintained, a department spokesperson said.

Almost 7,000 intensively stocked farmers with an agricultural area of 466,000ha availed of the derogation in 2018, with this being a marked increase in both the area and the number farming under derogation since 2014, the spokesperson added.

An expert review group jointly chaired by the two departments has been convened to consider all submissions received during public consultation and will present its findings to both ministers.

A copy of the consultation document is available on the department’s website.

The closing date for receipt of responses is Friday, May 10, 2019.

Completed submissions can be sent by e-mail to: [email protected]; or by post to: Derogation Review, Nitrates Biodiversity and Engineering, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Johnstown Castle, Co. Wexford, Y35 PN52.

There is also a helpline in relation to the review at: 053-9163444.