Commission seeks information from Luxembourg concerning its compliance with court ruling on water pollution by nitrates

Oct. 25, 2002
The European Commission will formally request information concerning Luxembourg's compliance with measures designed to combat water pollution by nitrates.


Oct. 25, 2002 -- The European Commission is to formally request information concerning Luxembourg's compliance with measures designed to combat water pollution by nitrates.

This follows a judgment made by the European Court of Justice in March 2001 which, in accordance with the Nitrates Directive, called for tougher measures to be adopted by Luxembourg.

Within the European Union, Luxembourg is one of the 4 Member States with the highest livestock density, and the highest surplus of nitrogen per hectare of cultivated soil.

The directive aims to control the use of nitrate fertilizers and the disposal of animal wastes, thereby avoiding high nitrate levels in drinking water, and restricting harmful plant and plankton growth in threatened water bodies such as small rivers, the Maas, the Rhine and the nutrient-enriched North Sea.

Although slightly improved in November 2001, Luxembourg's action program on nitrate use does not ensure that sufficient precautions are taken in a number of key areas; the farming of unfertilized strips along watercourses, restricted nutrient spreading on slopes and areas covered by snow and the balanced fertilization of crops.

The request for information to Luxembourg takes the form of a "Letter of Formal Notice," sent in accordance with Article 228 of the EC Treaty.

Read more at http://europa.eu.int/rapid/start/cgi/guesten.ksh?p_action.gettxt=gt&doc=IP/02/1521|0|RAPID&lg=EN.

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