Nitrate vulnerable zones

Rules farmers and landowners must follow if their 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.

The last review was in December 2020. It did not find substantial changes in the patterns of nitrate pollution in England, so the areas designated as NVZs remain the same for 2021 to 2024.

This collection of guidance explains:

  • how to check if your land is in an NVZ
  • NVZ rules
  • how to prevent water pollution from your farm

NVZ designations and appeals 2021 to 2024

Find out:

  • if your land is in a nitrate vulnerable zone
  • how to appeal

Rules you must follow

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

  • use nitrogen fertiliser
  • store organic manure

Preventing water pollution from your farm

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

Updates to this page

Published 2 August 2018
Last updated 1 January 2024 + show all updates
  1. Removed cross compliance requirements for England. Cross compliance no longer applies in England from 1 January 2024.

  2. Removed 2017 to 2020 information and added details about appeals process 2021 to 2024

  3. Link update

  4. First published.