The deadline for farmers to share their views on part of the Draft Nitrates Action Programme (NAP) is fast approaching.

The draft NAP was published last month and it proposed a raft of new measures for slurry storage and management.

It was accompanied by Natura Impact Statement (NIS) and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), which is what the public’s views are now being sought on.

The next NAP, which will run from 2022 to 2025, is due to be finalised in early March this year.

Negotiations with the European Commission on the measures will clear the way for a formal vote by the EU Nitrates Management Committee on Ireland’s request for a renewal of its derogation under the Nitrates Directive.

Derogation allows more intensive farmers to operate at a higher stocking rate subject to adherence to stricter rules. If a successful vote is secured, the derogation will be incorporated into the new NAP.

Draft Nitrates Action Programme

The draft NAP document has proposed new measures for slurry storage and management.

It has also suggested measures in relation to soiled water storage, livestock excretion rates and chemical fertiliser controls.

According to the draft NAP, one of the primary non-compliances identified is inadequate slurry storage on farms.

National nitrogen allowances will also be reduced by 10% nationally from January 2022, and by a further 5% from January 1, 2024, pending interim review of the programme.

You can read more about the proposals contained in the draft NAP here.

Public Consultation

Following the publication of the draft NAP, a six-week period of public consultation on the accompanying NIS and SEA was launched.

The deadline for submissions on these documents is next Wednesday (January 26, 2022).

Observations can be sent to the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.