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Prof. Peter Weingarten

Thünen-Institute, Braunschweig, Germany

“Objectives of the Water Framework Directive: need for regional action even with tightened good professional practice"

© Prof. Peter WeingartenProf. Peter Weingarten
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The use of fertilizers in agriculture and the consequent impairment of ground- and surface water quality caused by nitrates have already been recognized by the EU as a public issue some 40 years ago. As a result, the EU-Nitrates Directive of 1991 was adopted as one of the first European environmental directives, with the aim to reduce the nitrate pollution of the aquatic environment from agricultural land. The Nitrates Directive was implemented in Germany in 1996 with the adoption of the Fertilizer Ordinance, which stipulates best practices in agriculture. Since 1996, the Fertilizer Ordinance has been amended several times; most recently on June 2nd of this year.

This presentation will discuss the extent to which the groundwater nitrate targets required by the EC Water Framework Directive have been achieved so far, with respect to regional differences. It will highlight the regions that did not comply to target values and point out their characteristics. Regions expected to require further action even after the latest amendment of the Fertilizer Ordinance will be discussed.