France told to clean up Seine bay

EU court advisor says Paris failing to implement nitrates directive, polluting North Sea

France has breached the EU's 1991 nitrates directive by failing to designate the Seine estuary on its northern coast as a vulnerable zone requiring special measures to reduce nutrient run-off from agriculture, according to European court advocate general Leendert Geelhoed. Its intransigence was exacerbating eutrophication in the North Sea, he claims.

In an advisory opinion for the court released yesterday, Mr Geelhoed upheld a European Commission complaint that French procedures for designating nitrate vulnerable zones failed to meet the directive's requirements. France now faces condemnation from the court, which follows advocate generals' opinions in 80% of cases.

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