Government has ruled out an extension of spreading season or exemptions.
Sligo News File Online.
Sligo Dail Deputy Eamon Scanlon is apparently concerned following the Government’s refusal to allow slurry spreading outside last weekend’s closing date for the spreading season.
He reportedly said farmers were “up all night” trying to get slurry spread before the October 15 deadline but failed to complete the operation owing to severe weather, flooding and wet ground.
He is also said to have stated that some farmers “are facing animal welfare issues” because of full slurry tanks, and has provided a telephone number where those affected can contact the Department of Agriculture.
However, the Department of Local Government within whose remit the EU Nitrates Directive slurry spreading controls are administered said at the weekend that the Minister, Simon Coveney has not extended or amended the final date for the application of organic fertilisers, including animal slurry. They also stated that no exemptions had been granted.
The Department of Agriculture told Sligo News File that the department “works in support” on the implementation of the EU Nitrates regulations. They stated “We understand that the Department of Housing, Planning, Community, and Local Government “has no plans for an extension.”
A government source said the time frame for spreading had been previously extended in 2011 and 2012 when weather conditions were “horrific.” Although this was “very much a once off,” it nevertheless had caused Ireland “a lot of difficulties with the EU Commission.” They were “sceptical about our ability to maintain the Nitrates Action Programme,” and “were putting a lot of pressure on us to insist on extra storage capacity among farmers.”