11 January 2002

Air your views on NVZ proposals

MAKE sure you air your views on the governments proposed new Nitrate Vulnerable Zones.

That is the advice to English growers from the NFU as DEFRAs consultation paper slips through farm letter boxes.

The proposal is for either the whole of the country to become an NVZ or, in a more targeted approach, which is likely to be adopted by Scotland and Wales, for 80% of the area to be subject to NVZ restrictions.

"We are urging all our members to respond," says the NFUs Paul Ibbott. "We are looking for the maximum flexibility and minimum disruption. Farmers need to indicate their problem areas."

NVZ rules require farms to comply with compulsory measures, based on good agricultural practice, including restrictions on winter manure spreading. Hardest hit would be intensive livestock units with little land on which to dispose of slurry.

DEFRA acknowledges that the 140,000 farms in England will face extra costs of £10-12m/year, whichever option is chosen. But the Farm Waste Grant Scheme, open to existing NVZ farms, is likely to be extended, it says.

The closing date for responses is Feb 28. For more information visit www.defra.gov.uk/environment/water/quality/nitrate &#42