Agricultural nitrate pollution: regulatory approaches in the EU and Denmark

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningfagfællebedømt


Despite the passing of almost 25 years since the adoption of the EU Nitrates Directive, agricultural
nitrate pollution remains a major concern in most EU Member States. This is also the case in Denmark, although a fairly strict regulatory regime has resulted in almost a 50 per cent reduction in
nitrogen leaching since the mid-80s. Nevertheless, further effort is needed, particularly in ecologically sensitive areas. This article discusses different regulatory approaches – and in particular the need for a differentiated nitrate regulation tailored to meet site-specific ecological demands – from a legal perspective drawing on EU and Danish experiences. It argues that there is a need for a mix of regulatory approaches and instruments taking into account concerns regarding the unequal treatment of farmers and potential interference with private property rights. One option might be a differentiation of the mandatory specification standards of the Nitrates Directive combined with additional instruments to address the need for severe restrictions on fertiliser use or cultivation practices in the most ecologically vulnerable areas.
TidsskriftNordisk Miljoeraettslig Tidskrift
Udgave nummer2
Sider (fra-til)7-23
Antal sider17
StatusUdgivet - 2015

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