What's new ?
Latest Commission Report and Staff Working Document on the implementation of the Nitrates Directive
The Commission published its report on the implementation of the Nitrates Directive for the period 2012–2015. The report is accompanied by a Staff Working Document including detailed information on nutrient pressures from agricultural sources, water quality and designated nitrate vulnerable zones, both at EU level and at Member State level.
The Nitrates Directive (1991) aims to protect water quality across Europe by preventing nitrates from agricultural sources polluting ground and surface waters and by promoting the use of good farming practices.
The Nitrates Directive forms an integral part of the Water Framework Directive and is one of the key instruments in the protection of waters against agricultural pressures.
More information on the aims, implementation and impact of the Nitrates Directive can be found in the Factsheet on the Nitrates Directive and on the following infographics:
1. Identification of water polluted, or at risk of pollution, such as:
2. Designation as "Nitrate Vulnerable Zones"(NVZs) of:
The current status of NVZ and whole territory designations can be viewed using the map viewer on the website of the Joint Research Centre.
3. Establishment of Codes of Good Agricultural Practice to be implemented by farmers on a voluntary basis. Codes should include:
4. Establishment of action programmes to be implemented by farmers within NVZs on a compulsory basis. These programmes must include:
5. National monitoring and reporting. Every four years Member States are required to report on:
Reports and studies
The 4-yearly reports produced by the Member States are used as the basis for a 4-yearly report by the European Commission on the implementation of the Directive.
In order to assist Member States in implementing the Directive and to extend scientific knowledge on best farming practices for protection of water quality and minimisation of nitrogen losses from agriculture, DG Environment also commissions studies on different aspects of the Nitrates Directive.
Member State information
More information on the current implementation of the Nitrates Directive in different EU Member States can be found on websites of competent authorities.