The requirements of this Directive were enshrined into the domestic legislation mentioned below, and this remains in place following EU exit.
Nutrients Action Programme (NAP) 2019-2022
On 11 April 2019 the new Nutrient Action Programme Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2019 (NAP) were made for the period 2019-2022. The new Regulations replace the Nitrates Action Programme Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2014 as amended and the Phosphorus (Use in Agriculture) Regulations 2014. The NAP Regulations apply to all agricultural land in Northern Ireland.
Compliance with the Nutrients 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. The measures relating to the Phosphorus Regulations are now included in the new NAP. This means that the Cross Compliance Verifiable Standards will now also apply to the land application of chemical phosphorus.
- Summary Nutrient Action Programmes 2019-2022 booklet
- NI SR 2019 81 - Nutrient Action Programme Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2019 - Original (as made)
- NI SR 2019 183 – Nutrient Action Programme (Amendment) Regulations 2019
- NI SR 2019 81 - Nutrient Action Programme Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2019 – Latest available (Revised) – Consolidated version
Records relating to the export of organic manure from non-derogated farms must be submitted annually to NIEA by 31 January of the following year. In 2021, this date has been extended to 1 March.
Records of organic manure exports must be submitted online via DAERA Online Services. Log On access is required therefore please ensure you have registered via the Government Gateway or nidirect. DAERA online services
This on-line submission of manure export records for non-derogated farms sits alongside the CAFRE Nutrient Calculators which farmers are already familiar with and use to calculate their nitrogen loading and storage capacity.
Please be aware that failure to keep these records and submit them to NIEA by the deadline may have implications for any payments under existing area based payment schemes.
Exports for derogated farms are included within the fertilisation account submission.
Poultry litter and anaerobic digestate fibre storage
Farmers planning to store poultry litter or anaerobic digestate fibre in fields should notify the NIEA’s Agricultural Regulation Team prior to placing in the field. Poultry litter and anaerobic digestate fibre may only be stored in field heaps for a maximum of 120 days in the field where it is to be applied and must be covered with an impermeable membrane within 24 hours of placement in the field.
Nitrates directive derogation
Since 2007 the European Commission (the Commission) has granted a derogation from the Nitrates Directive for Northern Ireland from a land application limit of 170 kg nitrogen per hectare per year from grazing livestock manures up to 250 kg nitrogen per hectare per year for intensive grassland farms which meet certain criteria. The Commission renewed the derogation for the duration of the Nutrients Action Programme (NAP) for 2019 - 2022, this was approved in May 2019.
Subject to individual farms meeting certain key measures, farmers may farm above the 170 kg Nitrogen/hectare/year limit to a limit of 250 kg Nitrogen/hectare/year for grazing livestock manure. The precise terms and conditions of the derogation are set out in the EC Decision 2019/1325/EU.
At least 80 percent or more of the agricultural area of a farmer’s holding must be grassland. Farmers cannot apply more than 250 kg Nitrogen/hectare per year from grazing livestock manure to land. This includes application by the animal itself.
Manure from pigs and poultry is not eligible for the higher derogation limit and therefore must not exceed the 170 kg Nitrogen/hectare/year limit.Other conditions apply.
Farmers considering the Nitrates Derogation should seek further advice from their adviser, farming organisation or agricultural consultant to help determine whether they are eligible to apply for a derogation.
The Nitrates Directive Derogation Fertilisation plan must be kept on farm. It is not submitted to NIEA but must be prepared and made available for inspection by 1 March on farm each calendar year.
The Nitrates Derogation Fertilisation Account must be received by DAERA by 23:59 on the 1st March (unless extended) for the previous calendar year.
The submission deadline for 2020 accounts has been extended until 31st March 2020.
Fertilisation accounts must be submitted online via DAERA Online Services. Log On access is required therefore please ensure you have registered via the Government Gateway or nidirect.
You can access the P Balance Calculator through the DAERA online services. It is recommended to check your figures using the CAFRE Nutrient Calculators before you submit a derogation fertilisation account online.
In accordance with the conditions of the Derogation Decision, Northern Ireland reports annually to the Commission on the uptake of derogation by farm businesses, evaluation of the implementation at farm level and the status of water quality.
- 2015 Nitrates Derogation report
- 2016 Nitrates Derogation report
- 2017 Nitrates Derogation report
- 2018 Nitrates Derogation report
Article 10 report
In accordance with Article 10 of the Directive, Member States must report every four years to the Commission on the status of water quality and the impact of action programmes on water quality and agricultural practices. The UK report for 2012 to 2015 was completed in 2016 and the Northern Ireland section of it can be downloaded below. The Department also produced a short summary of the report.
- 2016 Northern Ireland Nitrates Article 10 report
- Summary of findings of 2016 Article 10 report and 2015 Derogation report
If you have any further queries in relation to these regulations please do not hesitate to contact the Agricultural Regulations Team by email: email@example.com or phone: 028 92633486 / 028 92623280.