The ICOS submission to the public consultation on the draft river basin management plan strongly emphasised the need for Ireland’s derogation for grassland farmers under the Nitrates Directive to be maintained without further conditionality. ICOS also welcomed the recognition provided in the draft plan to the development of the National Sustainability Dairy Forum. ICOS is a partner member of the National Sustainability Dairy Forum, which includes a cross section of industry and regulatory stakeholders. A collaborative approach such as the National Sustainability Dairy Forum will ensure that the appropriate actions are undertaken to improve water quality levels.
The River Basin Management Plan consultation overlapped with the release of the Environmental Protection Agency’s assessment of the status of Irish waters from 2010 to 2015. The EPA assessment represents a nuanced picture with Andy Fanning, Programme Manager at the EPA summarised that “the national picture is relatively stable, some water bodies have improved while others have deteriorated”. The assessment shows that elevated levels of nutrients (phosphorus and nitrogen) in waters continues to be the most widespread water quality problem in Ireland.
The ICOS submission to the draft River Basin Management Plan: http://icos.ie/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/ICOS-Submission-to-the-River-Basin-Management-Plan-Consultation-2018-to-2021.pdf
By Eamonn Farrell
Agri Food Policy Executive