Brussels conducts survey on nitrate emissions

The European Commission has launched an “open public consultation” on the evaluation of the Nitrates Directive. Over the next three months, farmers, citizens, industries, water boards and others in all EU countries can express their opinion about the Nitrate Directive.

The consultation is a precursor to the reconsideration of the current guideline. Brussels wants to know whether the current approach still fits within the European Green Deal and the new Climate and Environmental Policy. 

Nitrate pollution of the soil water is increasing in many places in the EU, especially due to the use of chemical pesticides in agriculture and horticulture and the spreading of animal manure on grasslands.

“The Nitrates Directive protects groundwater, rivers, lakes and seas against pollution caused by nitrates. It sets limits on the use of fertilizers and promotes the adoption of good agricultural and environmental practices,” the European Commission emphasized.

The EU has reversed previous extensions (derogations) for nitrogen use in several EU countries, including Germany, the Netherlands and Ireland, because those countries have not yet made their soil water cleaner. 

Brussels also points out that it is bound by other international treaties such as the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework to “reduce nutrient losses globally by 50% by 2030.”

Under the Nitrates Directive, EU member states are required to take several actions, including conducting more water quality surveys and identifying Biedes that are particularly sensitive to nitrate pollution.

The Nitrates Directive also supports the implementation of the Water Framework Directive, which aims to ensure that all European surface waters achieve “good status” by 2027.