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Nitrate Vulnerable Zones

(Alternatively known as Nitrate Sensitive Areas (NSA's) and Nitrate Advisory Areas (NAA's))

On 1 January 2009 the Nitrate Pollution Prevention Regulations 2008 came into force replacing the Action Programme for Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (England and Wales) Regulations.

The Nitrates Directive requires all known areas of land draining into nitrate polluted waters to be identified for designation as Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZs). An area of land that drains into one or more of the categories of polluted water listed below, it will be located within a NVZ. Farmers located within these NVZs are required to adhere to an Action Programme of measures to reduce the amount of nitrate lost from their land to the polluted waters.

Categories of polluted water:

  • Surface freshwaters which contain or could contain, if preventative action is not taken, nitrate concentrations greater than 50mg/l.
  • Groundwaters which contain or could contain, if preventative action is not taken, nitrate concentrations greater than 50mg/l.
  • Natural freshwater lakes, or other freshwater bodies, estuaries, coastal waters and marine waters which are eutrophic or may become so in the near future if protective action is not taken.

If the land is designated as a Nitrate Vulnerable Zone it may further restrict the quantity of waste that you can spread than is normally allowed under a waste exemption.

Click here for a map of NVZs in England and Wales

Click here for a map of NVZs in Scotland

If you are uncertain (e.g. in England and Wales your location has been identified as less than 100% NVZ) then you can pin-point your location and whether it is within an NVZ or not at the following websites:

http://maps.environment-agency.gov.uk/wiyby/

Full details of the Action Programme Rules and other information about NVZs can be found in the following documents:

England & Wales:

Scotland:

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