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Minister Welcomes Renewal of Nitrates Derogation

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

Minister Smith welcomed the Committee decision, which allows more intensive farmers to operate at higher stocking levels subject to adherence to stricter rules. This follows on from the agreement reached earlier this month with the EU Commission on the content of Ireland's second National Action Programme (NAP) under the Nitrates Directive. The new derogation will run to the end of 2013, co-inciding with the new NAP.

The Minister said: "The renewal of the derogation, in tandem with the package of measures contained in the new Programme will, in this economically challenging climate, underpin the efforts of Ireland's agri-food sector to meet its targets under the Food Harvest 2020 strategy, on the basis of sustainable farming practices".

The Minister added: "The Committee's decision to renew the derogation is of vital importance for Ireland's more intensive farmers. Grassland farms that apply for a derogation and meet the conditions will be permitted to exceed the limit of 170 kg of organic nitrogen per hectare set down in the Nitrates Regulations, up to a maximum of 250 kg per hectare".

Date Released: 23 November 2010