Heaney welcomes review of Nitrates Action Programme

Sinn Féin Faughan Representative Conor Heaney  has welcomed the Department of Agriculture’s decision to review its position on the new Nitrates Action Programme.

He  said the programme – which aims to protect water from nitrate pollution from agriculture sources – must reflect the needs of small and struggling farms.

Conor Heaney  said: “Sinn Féin responded to the department’s consultation raising a number of concerns including the fact there was no section 75 Equality screening despite the statutory obligation to ensure that section 75 is effectively mainstreamed within the planning and delivery of public policy and services.

“We also highlighted the potential negative impact such policy proposals could have on those farmers who farm in less favoured and severely disadvantages areas. This is the first year in which such farmers will not receive the Areas of Natural Constraint payment. The proposed new polices could therefore have wiped out small farms.

“Sinn Féin supports a balanced programme of measures that meets the objectives of achieving good water quality while at the same time encouraging sustainable and efficient agricultural practices. We further highlighted to the department that the environment does not recognise any borders and measures to tackle climate change should be implemented on an all-Ireland basis.”