Portugal in the dock on nitrates

Commission launches court case alleging failure to implement EU water law

The European Commission is to lodge an application before the European Court of Justice against Portugal for "failure to fully respect" a 1991 directive on protection of water against nitrate pollution. The Commission says that Portugal has failed to communicate national implementing legislation, designate vulnerable zones, or adopt a code of good agricultural practice. Fertiliser use in agriculture is the major source of nitrate pollution, contributing to eutrophication of groundwater and potential health risks from nitrate contamination of drinking water. The Commission has also decided to send a "reasoned opinion" to Ireland for a series of shortcomings in its national policies to prevent nitrate pollution.

Follow Up:
European Commission, tel: +32 2 295 1111.

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