Factsheet: Nitrates (Dir. 91/676/EEC)

Nitrates (Dir. 91/676/EEC)

Key Information


Full name of Instrument & Measure (English): 
Nitrates Directive Council Directive 91/676/EEC of 12 December 1991 concerning the protection of waters against pollution caused by nitrates from agricultural sources
The Nitrates Directive aims to protect water quality across Europe by preventing nitrates from agricultural sources polluting ground and surface waters and by promoting the use of good farming practices. All Member States have drawn up action programmes to cut nitrate pollution, including measures laid down in the Directive such as periods when fertilisation is prohibited, minimum storage capacity for livestock manure, and rules to control the spread of nutrients near water or on slopes, to reduce the risk of contamination. Most action programmes cover all the vital measures, and all of them include the limit of 170kg nitrogen per hectare per year from livestock manure that is set out in the Directive. But some programmes need to set tougher rules on storage provisions, balanced fertilisation and periods when fertilisers are banned.
- Ground and surface water protection. - Limit nitrogen and phosphor spreading on agricultural land.
Responsible Authority: 
DG Environment


Year Instrument & Measure Started: