The newly reviewed Nitrates Action Programme is now in effect and many farmers are not happy with the new regulations across the different sectors.

Last week saw the publication of the submissions to the final Statutory Public Consultation on the Nitrates Action Programme. On 14 December the draft Nitrates Action Programme Strategic Environmental Assessment Environmental Report and the Appropriate Assessment Natura Impact Statement was published.

It’s a bit of a mouthful, but once this was published the public were invited to make submissions or comments on the document before it was finalised. Submissions had to be in by 26 January 2022.

A miserable 17 responses were made to the consultation. They are listed in the box beside this article.

The dairy sector was well represented among these submissions and farm organisations representing more than one sector included the Irish Farmers’ Association and Macra na Feirme.

However, no farm organisation representing individual sectors other than dairy contributed.

Three responses were submitted by individuals, while Government departments made up a number of submissions. Others included the Environmental Protection Agency, An Taisce and Friends of the Irish Environment.

Making a difference

One thing that is for sure is that if you’re not in you can’t win. If farmers want changes to be made or want to explain their situation or suggest an alternative solution then they have to take part in these consultations.

The new Nitrates Action Programme is now passed by the EU, apart from some clarity on stubble cultivation in tillage, but it was never going to be changed by complaining to your neighbour.

Farming is a different job than it used to be. Farmers now need to do their everyday work, but they also need to explain what they do and why they do it to their neighbours and friends, not to justify it, but to explain it and tell the good story – to get the facts of the industry out there.

Another job they need to do is take part in these consultations, get their farm organisation to take part in those consultations and speak to politicians. Change only happens if you make it happen.

Submissions made to the consultation

  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
  • Geological Surveys Ireland (GSI) as a division of the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications (DECC).
  • Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Northern Ireland (DAERA.)
  • Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine.
  • Individuals X 3.
  • An Taisce (Comments on the NAP).
  • Irish Water.
  • IFA.
  • Irish Co-operative Organisation Society (ICOS).
  • Irish Co-operative Organisation Society (ICOS) and Dairy Sustainability Ireland including Dairy Industry Ireland.
  • Dairygold.
  • Macra na Feirme.
  • Friends of the Irish Environment.
  • Irish Creamery and Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA).
  • SWAN Sustainable Water Network.