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Important information on new NVZ designations

16th Jan 2017 / By Alistair Driver

Defra has started to issue notices to farmers it believes now fall within a Nitrate Vulnerable Zone (NVZ), following the latest re-designation.

slurryNVZs, designated as being at risk from agricultural nitrate pollution, include about 58 per cent of land in England.

The latest changes for 2017 to 2020, which came into force on January 1, have seen a number of new areas designated, with similar overall area has been de-designated.

Farmers can check whether their farm falls within an NVZ by using the What’s in your backyard tool.

Defra is issuing notices for farms in the NVZs in three tranches. 

At the start of January, notices in Dee, North West, Severn and Solway Tweed were sent.

Notices for the Anglian, South East, South West and Thames regions will be issued from January 23, followed by Humber and Northumbria from February 20.

The list used for the mailshot is drawn from information held by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) database of those claiming under the Basic Payment or Rural Development schemes.

However, these contact details will not all be up to date, for example in instances where farmers are registered with RPA via their agents and notices are sent to the agent’s address.  

Defra is asking membership organisations like NPA to advise members to contact the Environment Agency if you think the land you own or occupy is in an NVZ but you haven’t received a notice within a few days of the date of issue for your River Basin District.

NVZ appeals

You will need the notice if you wish to appeal (click here for details on appealing a decision notice)

Defra and EA said they recognised the difficulties for farmers who wish to appeal but receive their notice very late.

In cases of genuine need, EA is able to send another notice with a revised date if requested to do so. Farmers or their advisers should contact the EA if they would like to follow this up.    

If you are uncertain whether your land falls within an NVZ or have difficulty viewing the maps online then you can contact the EA. 

Telephone: 03708 506 506 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm)