Find out if the land you farm is in a nitrate vulnerable zone and what you need to do if it is.
European Commission nitrates directive
The European Commission (EC) nitrates directive requires areas of land that drain into waters polluted by nitrates to be designated as Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZs). Farmers with land in NVZs have to follow mandatory rules to tackle nitrate loss from agriculture.
The Nitrates Directive is implemented by separate regulations in England and Wales. We are responsible for enforcing and assessing farmers' compliance with these regulations. The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) also assess compliance with these rules as part of their formal Cross Compliance audit role.
We have position statements on compliance assessment and enforcement for Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZs). We have both an over-arching position statement and a specific position statement on enforcement of slurry storage provisions in England and Wales.
The designations of NVZs and the action programme that farmers must follow are reviewed every four years. The current review is coming to a close; there will be new designations and a revised action programme in April/May.
The NVZ map in 'What's in your backyard?' shows the NVZ boundaries that apply in England from 15 April 2013. The map includes all appeal decisions that were made up to 12 February. The maps will be finalised when all appeals have been decided.
The current regulations that implement the Nitrates Directive in England are called the Nitrate Pollution Prevention Regulations 2008 (as amended in 2013). These amended regulations come into force in May 2013, though some parts will be phased in.
You can find more detail about the Directive on the Defra website. You will be able to download the guidance documents from there when they are ready.
NVZs in Wales
Farmers in Wales can find information on these regulations on the Welsh Government website: