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ICOS in its submission to the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government has called for the continuation of Ireland’s derogation to the Nitrates Directive without further conditionality.

There are approximately 7,000 farmers (the vast majority are dairy farmers) availing of the derogation to the Nitrates Directive, permitting grassland farmers to spread up to 250 kg of nitrogen per hectare per year, instead of a limit of 170 kg per hectare. The derogation is fully justified as Ireland’s soil and climatic conditions allow for a long grazing season.

The current derogation ends in 2017 and is subject to an onerous renewal process at EU level. The problems related to Phosphorus levels in the Netherlands are well publicised. In addition, Denmark has secured its renewal but for only two years.

ICOS has highlighted in its submission the development of the National Sustainability Dairy Forum as an example of a unique joint industry, farmer and government approach. The National Sustainability Forum will include in its initial phase six co-op led pilot projects to improve nutrient management planning and on farm source pollution.

Read our full submission here


Eamonn Farrell

Agri Food Policy Executive


Tags: Nitrates, Submission