08 Jul 2020
Environment and Rural Affairs Council Report July 2020Council Reports, Environment Reports
Significant Water Management Issues (SWMI) Consultation Extension
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, the public consultation for the SWMI deadline has been extended from June 26th2020 to 5pm August 7th 2020. This consultation is part of the work in preparation for Irelands third cycle of the River Basin Management Plan (RBMP) under the Water Framework Directive.
In a move to standardise water charges across the country, Irish Water are introducing a new pricing structure for water supplied to businesses. The move will see four different usage bands being introduced in addition to standing charges per connection. Engagement with Irish Water on this matter will continue.
ASSAP Interim Report
The first ASSAP interim report was published in June. Although the programme is still in the early stages, the initial findings are positive, with farmer engagement in the programme reaching 96% and a net improvement of 16.7% in water quality in water bodies that were prioritised areas for action.
Activity since last National Council
National Environment Committee Meeting
The Committee held a meeting via Microsoft teams on the 16th June where Liam Mac Hale joined and presented. Some of the items discussed included CAP, Farm to Fork, Smart Farming, Activity with Irish Water and Renewables and the Nitrates Derogation,
Other Meetings and Discussions
As part of an IFA delegation and on-going work, a meeting with Irish Water was held regarding the proposed water pipeline project and previous issues relating to extractions.
Engagement also continues with TII and others regarding the development of a Greenways Code of Practice, to protect the interests of landowners impacted by the development of greenways on their land.
A presentation was made to the dairy committee giving an update on the nitrates derogation and some of the latest findings from Teagasc increasing the Nitrogen output of a cow from 85 kgs to 89kgs.
Various other discussions have taken place on the following topics: Greenways, National Water Forum, Fertiliser Association of Ireland, National Waste Prevention Committee, IFFPG, ASSAP and Smart Farming.
- As part of an IFA delegation, a meeting with the EPA will be held to discuss the short-lived nature of methane and how it is accounted and reported on.
- Now that restrictions have eased, the 2020 Smart Farming programme is getting underway. The process of contacting participants to arrange suitable call out times for their cost savings studies has commenced and will be carried out over the next three weeks.
- As a result of IFA’s submission to TII on their Greenways Draft Code of Practice, a meeting specifically between IFA and TII will be held.