The Nitrates Action Programme (NAP) and the nitrates derogation will come up for discussion at the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine this evening (Wednesday, September 14).

The meeting will take place at 5:30p.m in Committee Room 3 of Leinster House.

The meeting will be split into two sessions. In the first, which will take place from 5:30p.m to 7:00p.m, representatives from the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA) will take questions from the committee members.

The second session will take place from 7:00p.m to 8:30p.m, and will see officials appear from both the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage (which has primary responsibility for administering the NAP); and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Speaking ahead of the committee meeting, its cathaoirleach Jackie Cahill said: “It has been said [by members of government] that the measure of success regarding climate change and water quality will be judged on our ability to achieve these targets while continuing to produce high quality food with no impact on production.

“The meeting will endeavour to see how this will be achieved in the context of the NAP and the nitrates derogation agreed with the European Commission,” the Fianna Fáil TD added.

The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine has 14 members; nine from the Dáil and five from the Seanad.

In related news, the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage has indicated that there are no plans to extend the deadline for spreading chemical fertiliser beyond Thursday, September 15.

A spokesperson for Minister Darragh O’Brien told Agriland: “The Minister of Housing, Local Government and Heritage…would only consider extending the period for chemical fertiliser application in exceptional weather conditions where an extension would not pose a threat to water quality in line with scientific evidence.

“The minister has not received any requests for an extension,” the spokesperson added.