The Nitrates Directive (91/676/EEC) aims to improve water quality by protecting water against pollution caused by nitrates from agricultural sources. In particular, it is about promoting better management of animal manures, chemical nitrogen fertilisers and other nitrogen-containing materials spread onto land.

Nitrates Action Programme (NAP) 2007-2010

On 1 January 2011 changes to the Nitrates Action Programme (NAP) and Phosphorus Regulations were made for the period 2011-2014. The main changes affect the spreading and field storage of farmyard manure, spreading chemical fertiliser near waterways, spreading on steeply sloping land and the field storage of poultry litter.  For detailed information on the new regulations see NAP and Phosphorus Regulations 2011-2014. The NAP Regulations and the Phosphorus Regulations apply to all agricultural land in Northern Ireland.

Compliance with the Nitrates Action Programme is one of the Cross Compliance Statutory Management Requirements.  Therefore, farmers claiming Basic Payment Scheme and other direct payments are required to comply with the NAP Regulations.  Measures relating to the Phosphorus Regulations are not Cross Compliance Verifiable Standards.  However, adherence to both sets of Regulations is required by law.

2007-2010 Nitrates Action Programme and Phosphorus Regulations and associated documents

About the Nitrates and Phosphorus Regulations 2007-2010

Nitrates directive derogation information 2007-2010

One key measure of the NAP is an upper farm limit of 170kg nitrogen per hectare per year (N/ha/year) from livestock manure. However, farmers with intensive grassland farms and higher than average stocking rates may apply for a derogation to extend this limit to a maximum of 250kg N/ha/year.

Nitrates directive derogation guidance and forms 2007-2010


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