France and Luxembourg condemned on nitrates

Commission wins rulings over 1975 surface water quality directive, 1991 nitrates directive

France and Luxembourg were condemned by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) today for separate breaches of EU laws both concerning failures to control pollution by agricultural nitrates. Both cases were brought by the European Commission, which had charged France with breaching the 1975 surface water quality directive and Luxembourg the 1991 nitrates directive.

Both judgements follow the recommendations issued last year by ECJ lawyers (ENDS Daily 18 December 2000). In the French case, the ECJ has upheld the Commission's complaint that France had not implemented a coherent action plan to reduce nitrate levels in surface water intended for drinking water abstraction. Furthermore, France had not achieved continuous reduction in nitrate levels in line with the directive's requirements and had used "poor-quality" water for drinking water.

In the Luxembourg case, the court upheld the Commission's allegation that implementation of the nitrates directive had been lacking in five areas. These range from inadequate monitoring programmes to failure to set standards for the application of chemical fertilisers on agricultural land.

Follow Up:
European Court of Justice, tel: +352 43031, Commission vs France, {Commission vs Luxembourg}

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