FARMING: Revised Nitrates Action Programme a positive step for Irish farmers

6 December 2017
By Bryan Smyth

Cork Senator and member of the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee, Tim Lombard, has welcomed the renewal of Ireland’s derogation under the Nitrates Directive.

Cork Senator Tim Lombard

Senator Lombard said: “The renewal of our Nitrates Derogation is very positive news for Irish farmers, providing us the capacity for achieving targets set out in the Food Wise 2025 Strategy.

“This decision to renew this derogation is recognition that Ireland has and is continuing to maintain our commitment to improving water quality during ongoing developments in our agricultural sector.

“Ireland’s 4th Nitrates Action Programme (NAP) will commence in January 2018 and run until the end of 2021, as will the renewed derogation.

“The new derogation allows farmers to exceed the Nitrates Regulations limit of 170 kg of livestock manure nitrogen per hectare, up to a maximum of 250 kg per hectare, subject to adherence to stricter rules.

“This new Programme also places particular emphasis on disrupting pollution pathways, as to prevent agricultural run-off affecting our water. As well as the requirements applied to previous derogations, two additional stipulations which will ensure a higher level of environmental protection:

1) 50% of all slurry produced on a derogation farm must be applied by the 15th June annually. After this date slurry may only be applied using low emission equipment.

2) In order to be eligible for a derogation farmers must have sufficient storage for all livestock manure and soiled water produced on the holding.

“The new NAP also emphasises the importance of knowledge transfer, as to ensure that farmers fully understand how best to protect the natural waters on or close to their lands. This will ensure that greater value can be generated from the agri-food sector while continuing to protect our water quality – a critical component of agriculture sustainability.”

The Review Committee is made up of three members as follows:
· Niamh O’Donoghue, former Secretary General, Department of Social Protection (Chair)
· Padraig Gibbons, former chairman of Connacht Gold and former President of the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society (ICOS).
· Paud Evans, former Principal Officer, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

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