The Nitrates Directive
In 1991, the European Commission adopted the Nitrates Directive to protect surface water, groundwater and coastal and transitional areas from pollution with nitrate from agricultural origin. Member States (MS) have to identify Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZ) which are areas that are affected by nitrate pollution or that could be affected if no measures are taken. Action Programmes, including specific measures for minimizing pollution from nitrate, have to be implemented in NVZ. Action Programmes must include specific measures for reducing the pollution at the source, and comprise periods of prohibition of fertilizer application, restrictions for application on sloped soils, and on soaked, frozen, or snow covered soils, restrictions for application near watercourses, limits on the total amount of livestock manure that may be applied to land. Member States have to report progress on implementation every 4 years.