Fine Gael spokesperson on community, rural and Gaeltacht affairs Deputy Michael Ring has contacted the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food regarding the rules governing the timing for the spreading of slurry. According to Dep Ring the rules are doing more harm than good to the environment and should be urgently reviewed.
The Nitrates Directive required the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food to set up closed periods for the spreading of slurry based on regional growth rates of grass, taken over many years. The last minute derogations to the closing period issued by the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food were in recognition of the variances in weather conditions and the difficulties in complying with the regulations as they currently exist.
“Due to the recent dry winter conditions experienced over much of the country the closed period has proven to be the most practical time for spreading slurry,” Dep Ring stated.
“Anywhere there was adequate grass cover, slurry could have been spread without any damage to the environment. The calendar dates used have created an inflexible system that does not respond adequately to the conditions on the ground. I am calling on the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food, Brendan Smith, to urgently review the criteria used to calculate the closed period for slurry spreading. The Department’s inaction will create unnecessary burdens on farmers while harming the environment instead of protecting it,” concluded Dep Ring.