Ireland’s Nitrates Directive gets the green light

Irish ministers have welcomed the European Union's decision to close infringement proceedings in relation to Ireland's implementation of the Nitrates Directive.

Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, John Gormley, said that the move would allow Irish agricultural businesses and Government bodies to concentrate on cutting down on pollution to the country’s waterways and groundwaters.

The Nitrates Action Programme is intended to protect waters from pollution from agricultural businesses and the regulations help establish binding rules of good agricultural practice to avoid water pollution. These put an emphasis on businesses to correctly manage livestock manure and other fertilisers.

Mr Gormley said: “Most water pollution is needless and avoidable. The Nitrates Regulations can play a major part in reducing the extent of water pollution from agricultural sources.

“I expect that there will be a high level of compliance by farmers generally and that significant improvements in water quality can be achieved.

“However, in the interests of protecting water quality and in fairness to the responsible farmers who comply with good practice, I am determined that any rogue offenders have the full rigours of the law applied to them.”

The minister added that he would like to see more inspections to make sure agricultural businesses complied with the rules.

Recently, it was announced that that the Government would set up a new licensing system to be operated in relation to discharges from local authority waste water treatment plants.

James Cooper

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