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25. Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZ)


In January 2003 the Minister for Environment and Rural Development introduced the Action Programme measures to be followed in NVZs in Scotland . In short, these are:

  • record keeping: details of cropping, livestock numbers, use of inorganic fertiliser and organic manure;
  • N application limits: N applications from all sources must not exceed the crop / grassland N requirement; organic manure use must not exceed the farm-based limits of 250kg organic N/ha on grassland and 170kg organic N/ha on non-grassland;
  • closed periods when no applications should be made: no inorganic N fertiliser to be applied 15/9–20/2 on grassland; closed periods for other land to begin 1/9; no slurry, poultry manure and liquid sewage sludge to be applied 1/10–1/11 on grassland or autumn sown crop, 1/8–1/11 on other land on sandy/shallow soil;
  • storage of slurry/poultry manure: the capacity of storage facilities must be sufficient to hold all of the manure that cannot be applied due to closed periods.

The legal obligation to comply with the Action Programme rules rests with the occupier of each farm with land in an NVZ. Farms with NVZs are monitored to ensure compliance with the Action Programme rules with SEERAD Area office staff being responsible for enforcement of the legislation (Scottish Executive, 2003). SEPA's role in implementing the Nitrates Directive relates primarily to regular monitoring of the quality of both ground and surface waters using a monitoring network. The monitoring data is reported to the Scottish Executive in order to fulfill the requirements of the Directive (SEPA, 2002).

Until October 2005, the NVZ Grant Scheme provided help to farmers in designated NVZs who needed to install or improve livestock slurry or manure storage systems or silage effluent tanks in order to comply with the Action Programme rules (Scottish Executive, 2003b).

Action Programme measures include rules on record keeping, N application limits, periods closed for N application, and storage of manure.


Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZ) - The Future >>