A short extension has been announced to the public consultation on Ireland’s nitrates derogation.

Being conducted by both the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, the consultation period will now run until Friday, May 24, to facilitate all stakeholders in their engagement on this important issue.

According to the Department of Agriculture, 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.

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.

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

The extended closing date for receipt of responses is May 24, the department confirmed.

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, the department added.