Commission softens after nitrates court victory

Dutch approach to farm pollution control condemned by European court, may win reprieve in Brussels

Despite being condemned on Thursday in the European court of justice for non-compliance with the EU's nitrates directive, the Netherlands may win a partial reprieve from the European Commission over its complex system of mineral accounting in agriculture.

The European judges upheld the Commission's claims that the Netherlands' Minas loss-based system to limit phosphate and nitrate pollution from agriculture was not compliant with the directive, which sets a strict limit on allowable nitrogen losses to surface waters.

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