The Supreme Court approved an order to join the IFA and four of its members as notice parties in the forthcoming judicial review of the Fifth Nitrates Action Program (NAP) following a challenge by An Taisce.
It comes as An Taisce tried last month to challenge in the High Court the government’s approval of the 5th Nitrates Action Program (NAP), which regulates, among other measures, stocking rates and fertilizer use on Irish farms.
An Taisce claims that implementation of the plan will have detrimental effects on Irish waterways and environmentally protected sites due to excessive nitrate pollution from agricultural sources.
The adoption of the NAP will prevent Ireland from meeting its obligations under the EU Water Quality Directive.
The nitrate directive prescribes binding limit values of 170 kg manure nitrogen per hectare and year for the amount of nitrates that can be spread.
However, the directive allows for higher concentrations, subject to an exemption, allowing the management of up to 250 kg of nitrogen from livestock manure per hectare per year. Ireland was granted such an exemption earlier this year by the EU Commission.
An Taisce plans to launch a judicial review process against the Minister of Housing, Heritage and Local Government, the Ministry’s Department of Environmental Auditing and the Attorney General. The Minister of Agriculture is an announcement party of the challenge.
She also wants the court to refer the case to the European Union courts to review the validity of the decision to grant Ireland an exemption from standard EU limits.
The IFA has been dealing with the courts since September and has now been officially admitted as a notice party.
Commenting on this morning’s outcome, IFA President Tim Cullinan said: “IFA understands how the Nitrates Action Program affects our members. We will use our role as whistleblower to ensure that the concerns of farming families are fully heard in court.”
As the disclosing party, IFA said it will have the opportunity to become fully involved in the case, which is being defended by the Department for Housing, Local Government and Heritage.
It also gives the IFA the right to appeal the outcome of the judicial review if we decide to do so.
The NAP affects all farmers and regulates, among other things, stocking rates, fertilizer application limits, slurry application methods and closed seasons.
https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/news/courts/ifa-confirmed-as-notice-party-to-judicial-review-of-nitrates-action-programme-42196184.html IFA confirmed as notification party for judicial review of Nitrate Action Plan