EU seeks fine over water nitrate levels

28th June 2007, Comments 0 comments

BRUSSELS, June 27, 2007 (AFP) - The EU Commission on Wednesday asked Europe's top court to impose a fine of over 28 million euros (37.5 million dollars) on France, plus daily penalties, due to persistently high nitrate levels in drinking water in Brittany.

BRUSSELS, June 27, 2007 (AFP) - The EU Commission on Wednesday asked Europe's top court to impose a fine of over 28 million euros (37.5 million dollars) on France, plus daily penalties, due to persistently high nitrate levels in drinking water in Brittany.

While Brussels recognised that France had made efforts to tackle the problem, the EU's executive arm deems these measures insufficient to reach normal levels quickly.

France has already been in breach of the rules on this matter for 20 years. A 1975 EU directive limits the levels of nitrates in surface water used for drinking to 50 miligrammes per litre.

The Commission maintains that nitrate levels are too high in nine rivers in the northwest French region of Brittany. These rivers are catchment areas for drinking water, after treatment.

The problem is due to agricultural development. Brittany accounts for some seven percent of French farm production, but half the country's pigs and poultry, and 30 percent of its cattle are raised there. It is also a big arable production area, consuming tons of nitrogen-based fertiliser.

The EU's executive body wants the court to fine France over 28 million euros plus a sum of 117,882 euros each day that it fails to comply.

In 2001 the court found that 37 rivers in Brittany had concentration levels higher than 50 mg/l.


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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