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Nitrates Derogation Approved

The Minister for Agriculture and Food, Mary Coughlan TD, has announced that Ireland's application for a derogation under the Nitrates Directive was approved today at a meeting of the EU Nitrates Committee in Brussels.

Minister Coughlan welcomed the Commission decision, which will allow application of a higher amount of livestock manure than that provided for in the Nitrates Directive on qualifying farms, subject to certain conditions.

The Minister said: "I am delighted that the European Commission has accepted the case made by Ireland for a derogation. The derogation will be available to grassland farms on an individual basis and is a very significant development for some of our intensive farmers, particularly those in the dairying sector. The Commission have been very helpful to Ireland in getting the derogation proposal through the approval process without delay, and I am very grateful to them for that."

The Minister added: "The Commission's decision is of vital importance for Ireland's most commercial farming sectors. Grassland farms that apply for a derogation and meet the conditions will be permitted to exceed the 170 kg of organic manure per hectare limit, up to a maximum of 250 kg per hectare. My Department will be publishing full information and guidelines for farmers at the earliest opportunity."

While Ireland had argued strongly for extending the derogation to include farmers wishing to take in pig and poultry manure, Minister Coughlan regretted that the European Commission had not accepted this. She said, however, that she was confident that the measures she had already put in place and the transitional arrangements up to 1 January, 2011 in the Nitrates Regulations themselves would give pig and poultry producers the support and time they need to adapt to the requirements of the Regulations.

"Ireland's derogation application was based on a comprehensive submission and detailed scientific justification put together by officials of my own Department, Teagasc and the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government," the Minister concluded. "Today's decision is the culmination of a great deal of negotiation and hard work on the part of all concerned. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those involved in the process and to acknowledge the great assistance of Minister Dick Roche and his Department."

Nitrates Information

13 November 2006

Date Released: 13 November 2006