Ministers O’Brien and McConalogue launch public consultation on Ireland’s Draft Nitrates Action Programme


The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD and the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue TD have announced the opening of public consultation in relation to Ireland’s Draft Nitrates Action Programme.

Ireland’s Nitrates Action Programme (NAP) gives effect to the requirements of the Nitrates Directive in Ireland and is a critical piece of legislation that all farmers implement on their farms including maximum fertiliser rates, manure storage requirements, periods when manures cannot be spread etc. It is a cornerstone of the sector’s contribution to meeting the objectives of good water quality in our groundwater, rivers, lakes and estuaries.

These regulations contain specific measures to protect against nutrient pollution arising from agricultural sources and this review will look at further practical ways that farmers can support this objective.

In opening this public consultation, Minister O’Brien said: “Ireland’s Nitrates Action Programme plays an important role in helping us to achieve our ambition of protecting and improving water quality. Improving water quality is key objective of Government in parallel with Biodiversity and Climate action and we must do so as effectively as possible, in partnership with all stakeholders.”

Minister McConalogue added: “Farmers are playing a key role in improving water quality and the environment in which we all live and enjoy. The Nitrates Action Programme is a key element of this commitment. This consultation is an important step in the development of measures that will underpin Ireland’s fifth Nitrates Action Programme. I look forward to hearing from a wide range of stakeholders during this important consultation process, which will help us to focus on developing a more sustainable agricultural sector."

The regulations expire at the end of 2021 and a new Nitrates Action programme must be published at the beginning of 2022 with the revised regulations to remain in place until 2025.

Public Consultation on Ireland’s Nitrates Action Programme