IFA Environment Chairman Thomas Cooney has said that over the next couple of weeks intense discussions will continue with EU and Government officials to ensure Ireland’s nitrates derogation remains in place and that there is a greater focus on working with farmers to comply with the requirements of the regulations.
He also emphasised the need for the continuation of the transitional arrangement for the pig and poultry sector.
Speaking at a meeting of the Association’s National Environment Committee in Dublin this week, he said, “Farmers are committed to addressing environmental challenges on their farms. Over €5bn has been invested by farmers and the Government in recent years upgrading farmyard and ensuring farms are at the highest standard.
“Farmers who will avail of the nitrates derogation are subject to additional stringent measures and inspections, but many of them are also the ones who will lead the ongoing development of the sector. Therefore, the continuation of the derogation is very important.”
Thomas Cooney has again restated his call for greater collaboration when it comes to water quality compliance.
He said, “It is not right that a farmer should be in a position of fearing inspectors arriving from the Department of Agriculture, EPA, Department of Local Government, Local Authorities or Inland Fisheries Ireland to look at the same issue on the farm: water. These agencies have an obligation to end the wasteful duplication and work with farmers to support them to comply with water quality measures such as the nitrates regulations, rather than focusing on enforcement and penalties exclusively.”
Concern remains regarding the transitional phosphorous arrangements for the pig and poultry sector with IFA seeking the continuation of the existing measures as Government has failed to introduce any additional support measures such as anaerobic digestion.