Applications open today for farmers of grazing livestock in Nitrate Vulnerable Zones wishing to apply for a derogation to spread up to 250kg of livestock nitrogen manure per hectare in 2011. This is an increase on the limit of 170kg set by the EU Nitrates Directive.
Around 60 per cent of nitrate pollution in water is caused by agriculture, and the Government has regulations in place to protect England’s rivers and groundwater from agriculture, keeping rivers in healthy condition and protecting drinking water.
Farmers wishing to take advantage of the derogation must apply by 31 December 2010 using the Whole Farm Approach website or direct to the Environment Agency.
To be eligible for the derogation, at least 80 per cent of a farmer’s land must be grassland and additional conditions, designed to protect waters, must be met. Full details of the criteria can be found at: archive.defra.gov.uk/environment/quality/water/waterquality/diffuse/nitrate/derogation.htm.
- Last year Defra successfully negotiated with the European Commission for a derogation from the 170kg limit. Farmers need to re-apply annually to use the derogation.
- Guidance for farmers on the derogated limit is available at: archive.defra.gov.uk/environment/quality/water/waterquality/diffuse/nitrate/documents/leaflet-5a-guidance-for-farm-in-nvz.pdf.
- Farmers can apply for the derogation via the Whole Farm Approach Website: https://secure.services.defra.gov.uk/wps/portal/wfa, or by calling the Environment Agency on 03708 506 506.