Dáil Éireann - Volume 614 - 07 February, 2006

Written Answers. - EU Directives.

  390. Mr. J. Breen asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if the nitrates directive will be withdrawn and sensible regulations introduced that protect the income and livelihoods of all farmers; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4018/06]

  Mary Coughlan: The implementation of the nitrates directive is a matter for the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government in the first instance. He signed the regulations to give legal effect to the nitrates action programme in December last and they came into effect on 1 February 2006.

Last month, Teagasc, the State body responsible for providing the science on which the technical aspects of the regulations are based, indicated that it may be possible to review part of this advice in a way which could improve the effectiveness of the regulations, particularly with regard to phosphorus usage. The Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government [310] and I have made it clear that, if scientifically robust information can be brought forward, the Government will make a case to the European Commission for revising the current limits. As a result of these developments, the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government announced that the implementation of Part 3 of the regulations, dealing with nutrient planning, will be deferred for a number of weeks. Any amendments required to the regulations will be made following completion of the review and will require the agreement of the European Commission.