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Reducing Nutrient Losses In Europe And Implications For Farming - In The Light Of The Water Framework Directive

An analysis for the implementation of the Nitrate Directive in the EU indicates that probably only three of 15 countries have implemented the directive satisfactorily. These countries are Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Austria, however other countries are in the process of getting their implementation accepted. As an example, the Netherlands has been forced to abandon the MINAS system in order to get its implementation accepted by the EU. The continues by describing the costs related to implementation of the Aquatic Plan II in Denmark. The costs have been calculated to 70 million € or 2,0 € per kg N in reduced leaching. The farmers have paid 60% of the costs. The paper then describes the measures taken in Denmark and the associated costs for the state and the farmers. The next challenge for European farmers is the Water Framework Directive (WFD) with high environmental goals where only a slight deviation from the natural state is accepted. This might have a great affect on farming especially in livestock intensive countries and regions in Europe. The paper describes an example of a regional analysis covering the River Basin of Ringkøbing Fjord in Denmark, which indicates the calculations needed to find the measures and costs in order to comply with parts of the WFD. The analysis show that the geographical position of the measures are very important in order to achieve the expected nutrient reduction. The current income varies a lot in the River basin and this might also influence where to find the most cost effective location of measures. The WFD covers all water and the task of finding the most cost efficient combinations of measures to achieve the goals for streams, lakes, fjords and groundwater will clearly be a challenge. The paper concludes that exceptions from the WFD will have to be based on well founded cost-benefit analyses. Keywords: Water Framework Directive, Reducing Nutrient losses, cost effective measures.

Author(s): Abildtrup J. (1), Jacobsen B.H. ( 1), Orum J.E. ( 1)

Organization(s): Food and Resource Economics Institute Copenhagen (1)

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