The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, and local Fingal TD Darragh O’Brien has approved amendments to Ireland’s 5th Nitrates Action Programme.
The amendment to the Regulations gives effect to the Commission Implementing Decision granting Ireland a derogation for some farms to stock at a higher rate subject to stricter environmental rules.
Commenting Minister O’Brien said, “Protecting and improving water quality, along with biodiversity, is a national priority in Ireland, and these amendments provide additional clarity to Ireland’s Nitrates Action Programme in order to achieve this objective.
Following the public consultation on the draft environmental reports for the 5th Nitrates Action Programme, the Government committed to reviewing the measure requiring shallow cultivation of arable land post-harvest to ensure there are no adverse impacts on farmland birds.
Minister O'Brien added: “This amendment delivers on that commitment and it also clarifies and refines requirements around shallow cultivation of land post-harvest. I’ve understandably had a number of local tillage farmers contact me in relation to the issue of shallow cultivation and they outlined a number of issues which were particularly relevant to farmers in North County Dublin.
“Having consulted with my own Department officials and with my colleagues in the Department of Agriculture I am pleased that there is now additional flexibility for farmers who would have been otherwise under extreme pressures when it came to shallow cultivation obligations.”
He concluded, “Protection of the environment is central to guiding these amendments while providing certainty to farmers on the commitments they must undertake. All farmers have a role to play in improving water quality as well as protecting biodiversity and these amendments to the regulations deliver on this.”