The Nitrate Vulnerable Zone (NVZ) boundaries have changed yet again. These changes could have big implications for those who have land inside, or outside, of these new boundaries. The current NVZ designation were set in 2017 but following a series of appeals there have been some quite dramatic changes. The finalised boundaries are now set for a few years with the next review taking place in 2020.

What does being in an NVZ mean?

If you farm land within an NVZ it obliges you to follow additional rules regarding the storage and use of nitrogen containing fertilisers. These rules cover a variety of topics:

  • Limits on the total Nitrogen that can be applied to different crops
  • Producing risk maps for the spreading of organic manures
  • Planning the use of nitrogen
  • Recording the use of nitrogen
  • Closed periods for spreading certain fertilisers
  • Storage of all types of manures and slurries
  • Keeping detailed records of all of the above

The NVZ rules are an obligation for everyone who farms within then but if you claim the Basic Payment Scheme or any other Stewardship or Rural Development scheme, your payments will also be at risk if you are found to be in breach of the rules.

Is your land in an NVZ?

The best way to find out is to study the NVZ base map. There is an interactive map here: Alternatively, if you send us a plan of your land we would be happy to check for you.

The most significant recent changes in the three counties region are around Stroud, where a large area has been removed from the initial 2017 designation. This is very good news for those within this area as it removes a large paperwork burden not to mention the reduced risk of subsidy penalties.

If you would like further advice with regards to anything mentioned above, please contact Charles on 01684 325215 or 07814 033449.