In Denmark, the first Action Plan for the Aquatic Environment (I) was introduced in 1987. The target was a 50% reduction in nitrogen emissions to the aquatic environment by 1993. Measures were directed towards the individual farmer and included the establishment of slurry tanks with 9 month storage capacity and obligations to grow winter crops on 65% of the area. In the early 1990s, it was obvious that agricultural practice had not changed towards a more efficient use of manure and fertilisers. Therefore, the Action Plan for Sustainable Agriculture was adopted in 1991, the reduction target being postponed until 2000. The plan set out restrictions on the actual utilisation of fertilisers and manure, obligations for the farmers to submit nitrogen accounts to the Ministry of Agriculture, and a levy system. However, the implemented measures were still insufficient to reach the reduction target. A second Action Plan for the Aquatic Environment (II) was adopted in 1998 and the reduction target was again postponed until 2003. This plan contained a range of measures, including reduced nitrogen standards for crops. The results from the Danish action plans confirm the need for an effective control body, and a continuous monitoring and evaluation programme.

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