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Position paper on the Nitrates Directive submitted to the European Commission

TraktorIn March 2024, the GRÜNE LIGA submitted a position paper to the European Commission as part of the Commission’s public consultation on the Nitrates Directive (91/676/EEC). The GRÜNE LIGA strongly advocates for the European Commission to uphold the Nitrates Directive. This crucial piece of legislation is needed to protect European citizens, farmers, and economies from the harmful effects of nitrate pollution.

The intensification of agriculture, driven by unsustainable use of fertilisers, has led to widespread nutrient pollution, affecting over 30% of surface waters, 14% of groundwater, and 80% of marine waters in the EU. Livestock production contributes to more than 80% of nitrogen emissions in groundwater, in particular through the excessive use of nitrogen-based fertilisers for feed.

The Nitrates Directive aims to protect water quality across the EU by reducing water pollution caused by nitrates from agricultural sources and promoting the use of good agricultural practices.

In order to achieve these goals, the measures laid out in the Nitrates Directive must be consistently and thoroughly enforced. The GRÜNE LIGA urges

  • the immediate strengthening of the Nitrates Directive's implementation and enforcement, including stricter agricultural practices and adherence to the Water Framework Directive (WFD);
  • the integration of sustainable soil management principles into legislation through the Soil Monitoring Law;
  • rejection of justifications to apply RENURE products above the current legal threshold;
  • development of an Integrated Nutrient Management Action Plan.

This comprehensive approach is essential for protecting water quality, supporting biodiversity, and ensuring sustainable agriculture within the EU. By minimising nitrate pollution via agriculture, the Commission can protect the health of its citizens, guide the long-term economic interests of member states, and reduce the risk of pollution-induced water insecurity.

The complete position paper can be downloaded here.

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