SPAIN will have to answer to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg over not doing enough to combat nitrate pollution in areas like the Mar Menor.

The European Commission says that Spain has flouted the provisions of the EU’s Nitrate Directive in several regions including Murcia, the Valencian Community, the Balearics, and Aragon.

It accuses the country of not controlling nitrogen fertilisers used in agriculture that cause water contamination and has filed a complaint to the EU’s top court.

The Nitrate Directive drawn up in 1991 obliges EU member states to monitor their waters and identify people affected or likely to be affected by pollution caused by nitrates originated from farming.

The accord demands the use of ‘good agricultural practices’.

Excessive nitrate levels damage freshwater and the marine environment, which is what has happened with the Mar Menor lagoon.

The European Commission sent a formal notice to Spain in 2018 that it needed to toughen up measures against nitrate pollution.

In December 2020, the Commission gave the country three months to adopt an action package to stop it breaking the Nitrate Directive.

Increased measures started to be taken in Murcia and elsewhere but it appears to be too little, too late for the Commission.

It said in a statement: “The measures have been insufficient to reach the the objective of the Nitrate Detective.”


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