NVZ controls will mean hefty bills
By Isabel Davies
PLANS to designate all of England as a Nitrate Vulnerable Zone (NVZ) will have serious financial and practical implications, farmers leaders have warned.
A government consultation issued on Thursday (20 December) proposes that from December 2002 either all or 80% of England should become on NVZ.
This move would impose restrictions on the timing and rate of fertiliser and manure applications and also affect stocking densities.
The National Farmers Union said if rule changes went ahead farmers would need up to 50% more land to spread the same amount of manure
If they did not have enough ground they might be able to dispose of manure on a neighbours land, but this would add costs.
Farmers already in NVZs have faced bills of up to 90,000 to invest in storage facilities, the union claimed.
“Under UK conditions there will be few benefits to be derived from extending the zones,” said NFU President Ben Gill.
“It is another burden for hard-pressed farmers and one which could have been avoided if the legislation had been better drafted in the first place.”
Ministers say the move is in response to a European Court of Justice judgement that the UK has not implemented the 1991 Nitrates Directive properly.
Edward Greenwell of the Country Land and Business Association asked the government to justify why the EU directive had to be implemented in this way.
“The existing NVZs, which are quite small, are inconvenient but manageable,” he said.
“If most or all of the countryside is restricted, what are farmers to do? Do we really want lorries transporting manure and slurry around the country?”