The European Commission has launched an open public consultation on the evaluation of the nitrates directive.

Interested parties such as farmers, industries, NGOs, citizens, public administrations, water authorities and others are invited to share their views on the possible revision of the nitrates directive via an online consultation that runs until 8 March 2024.

The evaluation will assess if the nitrates directive remains fit for purpose, if it is in line with the EU environmental and climate ambitions and contributes to a sustainable and resilient agriculture and food security.

It will look at whether, in changing climatic and environmental conditions, the directive is helping farmers to adapt and increase resilience, whether it is supportive of new agricultural practices, while sufficiently promoting the recycling of nutrients from various sources, including processed manure.

Contribution

It will also consider the directive’s contribution to the commitments under the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework of reducing nutrient losses by 50% by 2030 globally.

The nitrates directive protects groundwaters, rivers, lakes and seas from pollution caused by nitrates from agricultural sources.

It sets limits on the use of fertilisers and promotes the adoption of good farming and environmental practices.

High concentration of nitrates affects water quality, makes it unsuitable for drinking and impacting many economic activities, including agriculture.

One consequence is eutrophication and toxic algae blooms. Excess of nitrates means additional treatment costs before the water is fit to drink, loss of income for fisheries and disappearance of unique nature.