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Nutrients Action Programme (NAP) Derogation

Agriculture

Nutrients Action Programme (NAP) Derogation

The Nutrient Action Programmes (NAP) Regulations (2019) include a limit on the amount of nitrogen (N) from livestock manure that can be applied to land of 170 kg N per ha per year on all farms (the livestock manure nitrogen loading limit). In 2019 Northern Ireland was successful in applying to the European Commission to renew a Derogation from the Nitrates Directive permitting the land application of up to 250 kg N per ha per year from grazing livestock manure under certain conditions.  This Derogation, for the period 2019 to 2022, is also implemented through the NAP Regulations.

To operate under a derogation you have make a successful application to the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA).  A derogation will allow you to farm above 170 kg N per ha per year up to a limit of 250 kg N per ha per year from grazing livestock manure, provided your farm meets certain key criteria.

All NAP Derogation applicants MUST:-

  • Complete an online application by midnight of the 01 March 2020.
  • Maintain 80% or more of their agricultural area available for manure application in grassland.
  • Maintain a holding with grazing livestock i.e. Cattle, Sheep, Deer, Goats and Horses
  • Ensure that the nitrogen loading does not exceed 250kg nitrogen per hectare on your land which includes both all applied organic manures and from the grazing animals themselves.
  • Ensure that the nitrogen loading does not exceed 250kg nitrogen per hectare on your land which includes both all applied organic manures and from the grazing animals themselves.
  • Prepare by the 1 March 2020 and retain a Fertilisation Plan.
  • Prepare and retain a Fertilisation Account which must be submitted to the Department online by the 1 March of the following calendar year.
  • Ensure the total nitrogen inputs shall neither exceed the nutrient demand of the crop nor the maximum fertilisation rate applicable to the grassland holding.
  • Carry out a soil test at least every four years for each homogenous area of grassland with regard to crop rotation and soil characteristics. At least one soil analysis per four hectares shall be carried out.
  • Ensure livestock manure is not spread in the Autumn (September, October & November) before grass cultivation (ploughing & reseeding).
  • Ensure that the phosphorus balance does not exceed a surplus of 10kg phosphorus per hectare per year.
  • Apply at least 50% of slurry produced on the holding on or before the 15th June of each year. Low emission slurry spreading equipment shall be used for any slurry applications after 15th June each year.
  • Ensure temporary grassland is ploughed in Spring (March, April & May).
  • Ensure ploughed grass is followed immediately by a high nitrogen demand crop.
  • Ensure crop rotation shall not include leguminous or other atmospheric nitrogen fixing plants. However crop rotations may include clover in grassland with less than 50% clover and other leguminous plants are that are undersown with grass.

If the conditions of derogation are not met you will not be eligible for a derogation the following year.

Application for derogation must be made to NIEA on or before 1 March each year.  The Derogation Guidance Booklet provides details of what you are required to do under derogation. 

Further information