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Coveney and Hogan welcome renewal of Ireland's Nitrates Derogation

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney T.D., and the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan T.D., announced that Ireland has today secured derogation under the Nitrates Directive after a vote at a meeting of the EU Nitrates Management Committee in Brussels.

This decision follows on Minister Hogan’s signing last week of the new Nitrates Regulations which give effect to Ireland’s third Nitrates Action Programme.  This Programme will now be amended to reflect the terms of the derogation. Today’s derogation vote will allow more intensive farmers to operate at a higher stocking rate than that stipulated in the Directive, subject to adherence to stricter rules to be implemented by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.  The derogation will run to the end of 2017, when the 3rd programme concludes.

Minister Hogan said that “the decision is recognition by fellow EU Member States that Ireland is maintaining a balanced commitment to ongoing improvements in water quality while also generating greater value from the agri-food sector. Both aims can be compatible and our successful implementation of the Nitrates Regulations and the associated derogation over the first two Action Programmes has shown that”.

Minister Coveney added that “the renewal of the derogation for a further four years is great news for Ireland’s farmers as it allows them to plan ahead with certainty over the medium term”.

Note to editors

The new derogation allows farmers 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, subject to adherence to stricter rules.

(Detail on 3rd Nitrates Action Programme is available on and


View Press Release as PDF:  DAFMPR12/2014 (pdf 730Kb) 

Date Released: 05 February 2014