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EU Nitrates Committee Grants Derogation

by 5m Editor
11 March 2009, at 11:31am

UK - Intense lobbying by the National Farmers Union and other organisations paid dividends yesterday when a derogation was approved for Nitrate Vulnerable Zones in Great Britain under the Nitrates Directive.

Among the main conditions of the derogation are:

  • a whole farm application limit of 250 kilogrammes of nitrogen per hectare per year from manure from grazing livestock;
  • farmers will need to apply annually to the Environment Agency for the derogation.

Gwyn Jones, chairman of the NFU's dairy board, said: "I am pleased the EU Nitrates Committee has listened to our case and granted this derogation. This is especially important for the dairy sector as some 40 to 50 per cent of commercial farms would have been at or above the original 170kg N/ ha limit.

"I am also pleased that Defra has co-operated wholeheartedly with the industry to secure this reduction in the severity of the measures it has imposed, and hope this will lead to a rational appraisal of some other NVZ measures.

"I am, however, disappointed at the increased burden of regulation attached to the derogation, especially regarding fertilisation plans for individual fields and the need for annual reapplication for derogation. Despite this additional bureaucracy, this is a major lobbying success for the NFU, and we will continue to lobby for further changes to the plan, especially for a package of financial assistance that will help farmers meet the demanding requirements of the directive."

The derogation is likely to come into effect in the autumn.