Q & A with Sally Horrocks, Farm Business Consultant at George F. White

11th November 2015

This month, we are focusing on Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZs) and what the legal compliance is for UK farmers.

QUESTION: Do you know what the legal compliance requirements are for Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZ)?


There are a lot of discussions in the farming community with regards to NVZ inspections, with many failing due to negligence.

Nitrate Vulnerable Zones are areas designated as being at risk from agricultural nitrate pollution. They include about 58% of land in England. Farmers must follow the guides on using nitrogen fertilisers and storing organic manures if their land is in an NVZ.

Farmers must:

  • Keep an up-to-date record of the total size of their holding;
  • When spreading organic manure, be able to produce and keep a risk map;
  • Keep field records, making sure the average Nitrogen Application Rate does not exceed Nitrogen max limit.
  • Have records of a 4 step plan in place if they are applying nitrogen to their fields either from organic manures or manufactured fertilisers. This needs to be for each field including grass land;
  • Keep calculations showing numbers of livestock kept on the holding if they use livestock manure including the category and number of days each animal spent on their holding;
  • Record any Imports and exports of manure;
  • Have sufficient facilities to store all slurry produced on their holding; and
  • Keep all records for five years.

Remember, Basic Payment Scheme imbursements may be affected for non-compliance to these rules.

For more information and guidance regarding NVZ and inspections, please contact Sally Horrocks.

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