This content is exclusively provided by FAO / FAOLEX

Council Directive 91/676/EEC concerning the protection of waters against pollution caused by nitrates from agricultural sources.

Type of law
Date of original text

This Directive aims to reduce water pollution from nitrates used for agricultural purposes and to prevent any further pollution. It is closely linked to other EU policies which address air and water quality, climate change and agriculture. Member States must: a) designate as vulnerable zones all those draining into waters which are or could be affected by high nitrate levels and eutrophication ; b) establish mandatory action programmes for these areas, taking into account available scientific and technical data and overall environmental conditions; c) monitor the effectiveness of the action programmes; d) test the nitrate concentration in fresh ground and surface water at sampling stations, at least monthly and more frequently during flooding; e) carry out a comprehensive monitoring programme and submit every 4 years a comprehensive report on the implementation of the Directive; f) draw up a code of good agricultural practice which farmers apply on a voluntary basis ; g) provide training and information for farmers, where appropriate. The European Commission shall provide a report every four years on the basis of the national information it has received.
Annex I lays down criteria for identifying waters affected by pollution and waters which could be affected by pollution if action is not taken pursuant article 5. Annex II specifies the items and measures to be included by Member States in their Codes of Good Agricultural Practice.
Date of consolidation/reprint
Last amended by Regulation (EC) No 1137/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2008
Serial Imprint
CELEX-EUR Official Journal L 375, 31 December 1991, pp. 1-8.
Source language


Legislation status
in force
Legislation Amendment
Implemented by