Farming organisations have support the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) call for more resources to be allocated to helping to improve water quality.
IFA Environment Chairperson, Thomas Cooney, has called on Government to implement the EPA’s recommendation to put in place the necessary resources to arrest any further deterioration of water status and to make necessary improvements.
“While urban areas account for the least use of land in the country, they continue to have a disproportionately negative impact on water quality. For example, there are 124 urban areas where improvements are required to address the adverse effects of waste water discharges, with 43 locations where waste water is being discharged and receiving little or no treatment at all. These include 11 areas in Cork and Donegal, 5 locations in Clare and Galway and 4 locations in Wexford," he said.
“The lack of waste water treatment and the impact of that on human health, as well as Ireland’s reputation must be addressed. The disposal of raw sewage into our waters must stop,” Mr Cooney said.
Speaking specifically on agriculture, IFA has made a detailed submission to Government calling for additional resources to deliver the following water quality enhancement measures:
· a progressive approach to the current review of the nitrates regulations;
· greater focus by state agencies on working with farming and the wider rural community to address water quality challenges, rather than mainly focusing on imposing penalties and fines;
· increased support for locally led initiatives, such as Smart Farming, which demonstrates clear and tangible benefits to the environment from better resource management; and,
· the re-opening of voluntary schemes such as GLAS, which provide targeted supports for farmers to improve water quality and future proof for environmental challenges.