Nitrates Directive: Water Pollution from Agricultural Sources

The Nitrates Directive aims to reduce and prevent water pollution caused by nitrates from agricultural sources, with the primary emphasis on the management of livestock manures and other fertilisers.  The main provisions of this directive are:

  • To monitor and identify polluted waters or water liable to pollution from agricultural nitrates
  • To promote the code of good agricultural practice to farmers
  • To identify areas where a remediation programme should be applied
  • To protect waters from pollution by nitrates from agricultural sources
  • To develop/implement action programmes to reduce and prevent pollution
  • To implement/update programmes on a four-year cycle

Under the the Water Framework Directive the bodies of water that need to be protected are:

  • All surface waters (lakes, rivers, canals, reservoirs)
  • Groundwater
  • Estuarine waters (or Transitional waters)
  • Coastal waters (up to 12 nautical miles from our shores)