Local TD Denis Naughten has called on the Government to ensure that the review of the current nitrates regulations introduces rules that are based on common sense instead of more red tape.
Speaking following his attendance at Roscommon Agricultural Show, Denis Naughten said, “The arguments on the review of the nitrates regulations need to be based on practical farming and must include a ban on the continuation of calendar farming for the spreading of slurry.
“Farmers are sick of the level or red tape that they have to deal with, while at the same time having to pay for a bank bail out because of the lack of Government rules in the banking sector. But some of the rules which farmers were forced to implement, were just now practical, such as those covering slurry spreading.
“Over the last number of years the Minister for Agriculture has been forced to extend the deadline for the spreading of slurry due to very poor weather conditions, and this clearly demonstrates that farming cannot be strictly done by date.
“The last two winters have highlighted that the closed periods have proven to be ineffective. Some of the most suitable conditions for land spreading have occurred during the closed period in the last two years. By the same token, periods where spreading was allowed weren’t suitable.
“Yet, if a farmer were to land spread when weather conditions were suitable, even where it had to be done for animal welfare reasons, if it was within the closed period, they were left open to the threat of prosecution.
“There has to be a more realistic approach to this and other related issues covered by the current review of nitrates regulations,” concluded Denis Naughten.