Manuel Valls wants EU nitrates directive 'to evolve'

Nitrate pollution remains a major problem in France due to its intensive agriculture. The French Prime Minister has resolved to take action, after a new indictment of France by the Court of Justice of the European Union last week.

The latest indictment of France by the Court of Justice of the European Union, announced last week (4 September), has turned the spotlight back onto the issue of water pollution.

The Prime Minister Manuel Valls has assured French farmers that the government would "work to adapt the nitrates directive", saying the EU text "has clearly shown its limitations".

In simple terms, the French government wants to run new scientific studies and put the revision of the directive on the European agenda.

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) criticised France for not having "correctly transposed the nitrates directive, leading to a risk of water pollution from nitrogen".

The European Commission's complaint centres on the minimum prohibition periods and conditions for fertiliser application, the absence of binding rules for calculating the storage capacity of manure and for calculating the exact quantity of nitrates that should be spread.

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