Measures proposed under the interim review of the nitrates action plan (NAP) are to be finalised and signed off on this summer, Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien has confirmed.

Minister O’Brien also said a 30-day public consultation will happen before the results of the review are published, which will inform the final measures.

A number of other actions must also be taken prior to the measures being finalised, including strategic environmental assessment, alongside assessments by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), he added.

Minister O’Brien was responding to a parliamentary question from TD Catherine Connolly asking when the NAP interim review would be published.

Proposed measures

Measures proposed under the review have received a mixed response from farmers and their representatives.

The proposals to reduce the excretion rate of zero- to three-month-old calves and the mechanism to allow dairy farmers who feed lower protein concentrates to reduce the excretion rate of their cows, have largely been positively received.

The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) said the measures proposing a 5% reduction in chemical nitrogen and a shorter notification period for slurry movements “will place more burdens on farmers”.

The interim review of the NAP is undertaken in collaboration by the Department of Housing and the Department of Agriculture, with the nitrates expert group.