15 March 2002

Dual attack on NVZs

TWO farming organisations have launched a joint attack on the governments proposals to increase the land area under Nitrate Vulnerable Zone restrictions.

In a letter to DEFRA secretary Margaret Beckett, the Country Land and Business Association and the NFU describe the proposals, which form part of the EU nitrates directive, as a "hammer blow to the industry".

CLA president Edward Greenwell and NFU president Ben Gill said government proposals would cost English farmers up to £100m.

NFU vice-president Michael Paske added: "Scotland has designated just 18% of land as an NVZ, with Wales opting for just 3%. So why on earth will it be 80-100% in England?"

He said a more justifiable figure would be 50% and confirmed the NFU was considering legal action.

Mr Paske also said the proposals meant some farmers are facing a bill of £5000. &#42

government literature that suggested the average cost to farmers would be just £170, was misleading and naïve.

"The extra paperwork alone will cost in excess of £170/year. Some farmers are facing a bill of £5000."