Minister gives farmers more slopes to plough

Agriculture minister has slackened off EU regulations preventing crops on hills threatened by erosion

Farmers just got more fertile land to cultivate after the agriculture minister Dan Jørgensen (S) regulated the EU's disputed soil erosion demands that forbid crops on more than 12% steep slopes.

A new map drawing up the soil erosion risks throughout Denmark means that the EU demands now only affect 250 hectares of land on slopes where erosion risks are highest due to the type of soil and the rainfall level, the Agriculture Ministry announced yesterday.

Must still follow EU
The minister said that the rule, previously affecting 1000 hectares, remains an important effort to secure fertile fields in erosion threatened areas in the future.

"We went as far as we could to deal with erosion and still live up to our commitments to the EU," Jørgensen said.

"With the change we have pointed out precisely where the erosion risks are highest."

Danish farmers have objected to the rule, known as the 'alpe-regel' (the Alps rule) in Denmark, where mountains are not exactly the most common sight in the countryside. The demands were specifically made to prevent damages in the Alpine EU countries where erosion risks are the highest in Europe.