22 March 1996

NFU told no challenge to NVZ limit

THE NFU has been told that it cannot mount a legal challenge to the nitrate limit that has been set for nitrate vulnerable zones.

Speaking to NFU council, NFU deputy president Tony Pexton said the NFUs legal advisers had told him a challenge of the 50mg/ litre water nitrate level was impossible because the UK government had signed the EU nitrate directive.

But the NFU was still deeply unhappy about the impact of the proposed NVZs and farmers chances of redress, he said. The appeals tribunal tended to believe National Rivers Authority nitrate readings, rather than independent analysis, and the review panel was not allowed to question government policy.

Though the NFU could not challenge the nitrate limit, it was still possible that it could challenge the governments interpretation of the directive. "But until the government finally announced its NVZ designations there is little that we can do," Mr Pexton added.

Richard Campbell, NFU pigs committee chairman, urged producers who feared they would suffer from NVZ restrictions to give the NFU information. "We want to know the impact that controls might put on their businesses so we can establish exactly what the effects will be," he said. &#42

Shelley Wright