There are only seven months of water quality sampling results left against which Ireland’s application for a nitrates derogation beyond 2025 will be judged by the European Commission.

Commission officials have stated that an improving trend of water quality is needed in around half of all waterways which do not meet their targeted ‘good’ status by 2027 if Ireland is to be granted another derogation.

Water quality trends are currently stable in most waterbodies in need of improvement under the Commission’s position with just seven months left to show progress, Eddie Burgess of Teagasc’s agricultural catchments programme told the Irish Farmers Journal.

“We are nearly halfway through the third six-year phase of the Water Framework Directive and Ireland is in the better half of EU countries,” he said.