Collection

Nitrate vulnerable zones

Guidance for farmers and landowners that explains the rules you must follow if your land is in a nitrate vulnerable zone (NVZ).

Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZs) are areas designated as being at risk from agricultural nitrate pollution. They include about 55% of land in England.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) reviews NVZs every 4 years to account for changes in nitrate concentrations.

This collection of guidance explains:

  • how to find out if your land is in an NVZ
  • transitional arrangements until 31 July 2019 (if your land was in an NVZ for the first time in 2017)
  • NVZ rules
  • NVZ and cross compliance requirements
  • how to prevent water pollution from your farm

NVZ designations 2017 to 2020

Find out:

  • if your land is in a nitrate vulnerable zone
  • the outcome of appeals
  • about transitional arrangements if your land was in an NVZ for the first time in 2017

Rules you must follow

If your land is in an NVZ, you must follow rules when you:

  • use nitrogen fertiliser
  • store organic manure

If your land was in an NVZ for the first time in 2017, you have until 31 July 2019 to comply with some of these rules.

NVZs and cross compliance requirements

The NVZ rules are covered by the cross compliance requirement known as Statutory Management Requirement 1 (SMR 1).

The Rural Payments Agency carries out cross compliance inspections to check farmers and landowners are complying with these rules.

You must meet all NVZ rules, as well as other cross compliance requirements to qualify for full payments from:

  • the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS)
  • Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) schemes, such as Countryside Stewardship and Countryside Productivity

Your payments may be reduced if you do not follow these rules.

  1. Cross compliance 2018
  2. Cross compliance inspection

Preventing water pollution from your farm

You must take steps to prevent water pollution whether or not your land is in an NVZ.

Published 2 August 2018
Last updated 2 August 2018 + show all updates
  1. Link update
  2. First published.