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25. Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZ)


The gradual orientation of the CAP to take greater account of environmental issues contributes to the purposes of the Nitrates Directive. However, the failure of a proper application of the directive in some member states cannot be rectified only through CAP measures. Controlling nitrate emission is still primarily the task of transposition and implementation of the nitrates directive. Some member states have only since the year 2000 shown a real willingness to improve implementation. They realise that costs induced by drinking water treatment for nitrates excess, or by eutrophication damages in dams or coastal waters will still increase (EC, 2002). It has also to be taken into consideration that there is a considerable time lag between improvements at farm and soil level and a response in waterbody quality (OECD, 2003).

An effect of the application of Action Programme rules cannot be shown as yet, as there is a natural time lag between improvements on the farm and in the waterbody.



  • European Commission (1991): The European Nitrates Directive 91/676/EEC; External Website
  • European Commission (2002): Report COM (2002)407. The Implementation of Council Directive 91/676/EEC concerning the Protection of Waters against Pollution caused by Nitrates from Agricultural Sources. Sunthesis from year 2000 member States reports. External Website
  • NetRegs (2005): Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZ) in Scotland; External Website
  • OECD (2003): Matrix Classification, Nitrates Directive; External Website
  • Scottish Executive (2002): Protection of Scotland's water environment: Consultation on further Scottish NVZs; External Website
  • Scottish Executive (2003): Guidelines for farmers in nitrate vulnerable zones; External Website
  • Scottish Executive (2003b): NVZ Grant Scheme; External Website
  • Scottish Executive (2004). Single Farm Payment Scheme, Information Leaflet 7: Cross Compliance. External Website
  • Scottish Executive (2005): Key Scottish Environment Statistics External Website
  • SEPA (2002): Nitrate Vulnerable Zones. News release; External Website

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