NVZ Designations

Thu, Feb 2, 2017

The Environment Agency (EA) has released details of the proposed Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZs) for 2017.  These are updated every four years along with the rules which need to be followed.  Under the proposals there are some new designations as well as some areas that have been removed.  Approximately 58% of England is designated as being in an NVZ and this has remained pretty static.  DEFRA has been writing to farmers and in some cases their Agents, officially notifying them that their land falls within a Nitrate Vulnerable Zone (NVZs).  Farmers only have 28 days from notification to appeal the decision. 


There are only two grounds for appeal, firstly that the land does not drain into polluted water or secondly that it drains into water that shouldn't be identified as polluted.  More details on how to appeal can be found on the DEFRA website at  https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nitrate-vulnerable-zones-appeal-a-decision-notice .  Designated areas can be found on the Environment Agency's website at http://maps.environment-agency.gov.uk/wiyby/wiybyController?x=357683&y=355134&scale=1&layerGroups=default&ep=map&textonly=off&lang=_e&topic=nvz#x=357683&y=356457&lg=1,10&scale=4


Letters are being sent out  to all those in existing NVZs and those in the newly proposed zones.  These are being sent in tranches depending on which river basin district the land is in.  Letters are sent using the contact details on the Rural Payments Agency farm register and the June Survey of Agriculture.  Where farmers are registered with the RPA via an Agent, letters may be sent to the Agent.  This is causing a problem as they do not contain details of the specific holding they are referring to.  DEFRA has stated that ‘We are not asking or obliging agents to do anything with the letters about Nitrate Vulnerable Zones’, continuing that ‘We are making considerable efforts to reach farmers through other routes as well as the mail shots’. Therefore Agents can safely ignore these communications.

DEFRA has also amended its guidance on restrictions of applications outside the closed period of manures with readily available nitrogen content (poultry manure and liquid manures which includes cattle and pig slurries) More guidance on using nitrogen fertiliser in NVZs can be found on the DEFRA website at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/using-nitrogen-fertilisers-in-nitrate-vulnerable-zones

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