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Publication of Nitrates Derogation Guidance

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the Department of the Environment, Community & Local Government are pleased to announce that Ireland's application for a renewal of its derogation under the Nitrates Directive has completed all stages of the approval process by the EU Commission. The derogation allows more intensive farmers to operate at higher stocking levels subject to adherence to stricter rules. 

This marks the completion of a two stage process and follows on from the agreement reached earlier this year with the EU Commission on the content of Ireland's third National Action Programme (NAP) under the Nitrates Directive and subsequent approval by EU member states through the Nitrates Committee.

The new derogation will run to the end of 2017, coinciding with the new NAP. Amending Regulations to give effect to the decision have been introduced by the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government and are available online at

A revised Nitrates Guidance document, incorporating all the recent changes, has been prepared to provide an up to date reference document for farmers and is available on the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine website.

The Guidance document set outs in very clear language the requirements of the regulations and practical interpretation of the Nitrates rules. Additionally, it provides useful information on recent changes to the regulations such as:

  • How to avail of increased phosphorus allowances;
  • Increases in fertiliser allowances for certain tillage crops;
  • Control of grass weeds in specific cereal crops;
  • Uncultivated zones near watercourses;
  • Clarification of soiled water definition;

Intensively stocked farmers are reminded that they can apply on-line for a derogation through the Department of Agriculture’s website, with the closing date for applications set at 30th April 2014. The closing date for receipt of paper applications is 31st March 2014.

Details of the Nitrates Action Programme and Nitrates Derogation are available on

View this Press Release as a PDF:  DAFM PR37/2014 (pdf 544Kb) 

Date Released: 14 March 2014