Find out if the land you farm is in a nitrate vulnerable zone and what you need to do if it is.
The NVZ map on the 'What's in your backyard (WIYBY)' part of our website shows the NVZ boundaries which are expected to apply from 1 January 2013.
You can see the boundaries and also retrieve summaries of the underlying data analysis here. You can search for your land by entering your postcode or a place name in the search box in the top right hand corner of this page.
To retrieve the supporting data for a particular zone, click on the area with your mouse. This will take you to a small table that sets out the reason(s) why designation is proposed. Click on the small arrowhead on the right of the table, and this will take you to a page where you can download a summary of the analysis behind the proposed designation.
If you wish to appeal against the designation of your land, you will be able to do so. Details of the methods used, the appeals process and timescales are on the Defra and Welsh Government websites (see links below).
The changes to the Action Programme will be published by Defra in the summer, and they will also publish the new Regulations and Guidance during the autumn.
European Commission nitrates directive
The European Commission (EC) nitrates directive requires areas of land that drain into waters polluted by nitrates to be designated as Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZs). Farmers with land in NVZs have to follow mandatory rules to tackle nitrate loss from agriculture.
The Nitrates Directive is implemented by separate regulations in England and Wales. We are responsible for enforcing and assessing farmers' compliance with these regulations. The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) also assess compliance with these rules as part of their formal Cross Compliance audit role.
We have position statements on compliance assessment and enforcement for Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZs). We have both an over-arching position statement and a specific position statement on enforcement of slurry storage provisions in England and Wales.
NVZs in England
The regulations that implement the Nitrates Directive in England are called the Nitrate Pollution Prevention Regulations 2008 (as amended). These came into force on 1 January 2009, though some parts were phased in. NVZs now cover 62 per cent of England.
If you farm in England and want to check whether your fields are in an NVZ, you can do this using the detailed maps that are available on Defra's website.
NVZs in Wales
The equivalent regulations in Wales are the Nitrate Pollution Prevention (Wales) Regulations 2008 (as amended), which became law on 1 January 2009. The rules that Welsh farmers must comply with are effectively the same as those in England.
If you farm in Wales and want to check whether your fields are in an NVZ, maps are available on the Welsh Government (WG) website. You can also see printed versions at WG and local authority offices. Approximately two per cent of Wales is designated as NVZ.