NVZs – Getting started: Where to get tips, advice and guidance

Getting started

  • The first step for the farmer is to establish whether all or part of his holding falls within an NVZ. The easiest way to do this is through the DEFRA mapping website www.magic.gov.uk. This is the website used for cross-compliance checks and for regulating the NVZ rules, which falls to the Environment Agency. Follow the link above or tyupe the address into your internet browser. Select “Choose my own topic” and tick NVZ options
  • The second step is to get equipped with the DEFRA guidance for farmers in NVZs. There are nine booklets and these must be requested from the DEFRA order line 0845 955 6000. Alternayively, you can download each booklet as a PDF.


  • Farmers within an existing NVZ must complete their farm nitrogen calculations by 30 April this year producers who find themselves in one of the new NVZs have until 30 April 2010.
  • For farmers in existing NVZs, the manure management plans and nitrogen loading calculations must be done sooner, if they wish to begin applying nitrogen to some crops this month.

Storage requirements

What most farmers, particularly milk producers, have feared is that NVZ legislation will mean they must spend thousands of pounds in expensive slurry storage, to comply with the 22-week mandatory closed periods which ban the spreading of manures.

But this needn’t necessarily be the case. For some farmers changes to farm operations with minimal investment could help businesses stay within the NVZ rules.

If all this sounds like it means more paperwork, that’s because it will. But it’s not insurmountable. Olivier Lee, NVZ specialist with consultant Andersons, has three tips for farmers struggling to make sense of the growing pile of paper.

“Don’t put off acting on the new legislation – like it or not it is necessary and will prevent potential Single Farm Payment fines.

“Don’t get bogged down with the detail of the NVZ requirements. Keep things simple by following the overriding topics and completing each one using a method that most suits you.

“The potential problems arising from the new legislation (most often storage requirements and manure N loading levels) can often be overcome with less expense and disruption than many realise. If unsure, seek advice.”

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