Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Questions (980)

James O'Connor

Question:

980. Deputy James O'Connor asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his plans to impose Environmental Protection Agency licensing on dairy, livestock and tillage farmers in view of recent comments and reports in the media by his officials; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38349/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

There are currently no plans to impose EPA licensing beyond current requirements.

The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien T.D. and I will shortly open a public consultation in relation to the fifth review of Ireland’s Nitrates Action Programme (NAP). Ireland’s NAP gives effect to the requirements of the Nitrates Directive in Ireland. The European Union (Good Agricultural Practice for Protection of Waters) Regulations 2017 (S.I. No. 605 of 2017) contain specific measures to protect surface waters and groundwater from nutrient pollution arising from agricultural sources. The regulations expire at the end of 2021 and a new NAP must be published at the beginning of 2022.

The public consultation documentation for the next NAP review sets out keys areas for stakeholders to consider and seeks views on how agriculture can improve and protect water quality. The NAP plays an important role in helping Ireland to protect water quality and in addition the review will also seek to achieve co-benefits to realise both biodiversity and climate action objectives as effectively as possible.

All opportunities to increase the sustainability of Irish agriculture, while supporting productive farming, will be explored during the review period.