Nitrate Directive published

The official text of the EC Directive on the control of nitrate pollution from agricultural sources has now been published.1 The legislation will begin to bite at the end of 1993, by when Member States have to identify zones in which action must be taken to curb nitrate leaching.

The nitrate Directive provoked intense controversy when it was proposed by the European Commission in 1990 (ENDS Report 170, pp 28-9). One member of the House of Lords even suggested that it would lead to suicides among farmers, so allegedly draconian were its provisions for curbing fertiliser applications and changing land use practices.

The final text is considerably more flexible and less onerous than the original, but is sufficiently

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