DEADLINES ARE looming for those UK producers in Nitrate Vulnerable Zones who are eligible to apply for grants of up to 40% to replace or improve slurry and manure stores.

Applications in Northern Ireland open on Jan 26, but producers must register before Mar 1 to access some of the £45m available under the Farm Nutrient Management scheme.

Maximum aid is £34,000 a farm. But Scottish producers in NVZs affected by the NVZ Action Programme only have until Feb 11 to apply to SEERAD for a grant.

England has not announced any new requirements for implementing the Nitrates Directive and so no new grant money is available, says DEFRA.

The Welsh Assembly has spent more than £22m since 2001 and with current funds used up, it is evaluating the impact of grants before developing a new plan from 2007.