REPLY (Sept 17, 2014)
Minister Alan Kelly:
The Nitrates Directive is given legal effect by the European Union (Good Agricultural Practice for Protection of Waters) Regulations 2014, known as the ‘Nitrates Regulations’. Local authorities, acting under the general supervision of the Environmental Protection Agency ( EPA ), are the competent authorities for enforcing the Nitrates Regulations. The EPA collates and publishes data on enforcement activity.
To date, no prosecutions have been taken by Waterford County Council under these regulations. A total of 27 prosecutions have been initiated nationwide since 2007.
A significant number of non-compliance issues are resolved without the need for judicial sanction. Where instances of non-compliance are recorded during farm inspections, the EPA has instructed local authorities to take appropriate enforcement actions. Local authorities are also obliged under the Nitrates Regulations to cross-report non-compliances to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, who may impose a financial penalty on a land owner’s agricultural payments.