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Smith Extends Reps Slurry Spreading Period

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Mr Brendan Smith TD, today announced a temporary measure to assist REPS farmers affected by current weather conditions. The measure applies to farmers in REPS 2 and REPS 3 who are required to have spread all the slurry produced during the winter housing period by 31 August.

"I recognise that the current weather conditions make it difficult for some REPS farmers to get their slurry spread by the end of this month," Minister Smith said. "Indeed the Nitrates Regulations would rule out spreading in many areas at the moment. For that reason, I have agreed to extend the deadline to 15 October which is the deadline in the Nitrates Regulations themselves and also applies to farmers in REPS 4."

While recognising the problems caused by the bad weather, the Minister stressed that all REPS farmers - and all other farmers - remain subject at all times to the overriding obligation to avoid causing pollution. "Indeed all good farmers will be even more conscious at the moment of the increased risk of inadvertently causing water pollution and they will be taking special care to avoid it," he said.

For editors

Section 18(2) of the European Communities (Good Agricultural Practice for Protection of Waters) Regulations 2006 (the "Nitrates Regulations") provides as follows:

"Fertilisers or soiled water shall not be applied to land in any of the following circumstances (a) the land is waterlogged;(b) the land is flooded or likely to flood;(c) the land is snow-covered or frozen;(d) heavy rain is forecast within 48 hours, or(e) the ground slopes steeply and, taking into account factors such as proximity to waters, soil condition, ground cover and rainfall, there is significant risk of causing water pollution."

Date Released: 21 August 2008