The Scottish NFU is calling for an extension to the Nitrate Vulnerable Zone deadline, saying no consultation will be more important in 2007.

NFUS supports the principle of nitrates controls but has been very critical of Scottish Executive proposals for further restrictions in the absence of clear scientific evidence to justify them.

The detail of the NVZ consultation which has emerged from the Scottish Executive has angered the farming industry as it appears to have ignored the points raised by farmers during a series of pre-consultation meetings across the country.

Requirements

The proposals include longer closed periods during which farmers are banned from spreading manures and slurry and a reduction in the amount which can be applied to land over the course of a year and requirements for some farmers to invest in greater storage facilities.

The consultation is due to close on 15 February but NFUS is requesting an extension until 15 March.

“The outcome of this consultation will be crucial to the future plans of thousands of farms in Scotland’s NVZs. If these rules go through, farmers will have to sell off cattle or buy more land. Therefore we can’t afford this consultation to be a rush job,” said NFUS vice-president, Jim McLaren.

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