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2017 Newly designated NVZ areas - Things you need know

Last updated: 01 Jul 2019

Slurry at Joel Beckett's farm_59105

If your land was in an Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZs) for the first time in 2017, you did not have to comply with all NVZ rules straight away. Transitional arrangements were made for some of the rules which have been phased in from 1 January 2018 to 31 July 2019.

This adjustment period was to allow farmers in new NVZ areas to make the necessary investment in infrastructure to comply with the rules, for example building sufficient slurry storage. From 31st July all NVZ areas must comply with all of the NVZ rules.

NVZs are areas designated as being at risk from agricultural nitrate pollution. They include about 55% of land in England. You can check to see if you are in an NVZ on the Environment agency cloud map.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) reviews NVZs every 4 years to account for changes in nitrate concentrations. The last review was in 2017.

Transitional Arrangements

The transitional arrangements mean you have until 31 July 2019 to comply with the following rules regarding:

You can find out more information in the guide to cross compliance in England 2018  under SMR 1: Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZs) on pages 39 to 48

Or visit for further guidance for farmers and landowners that explains the rules you must follow if your land is in a nitrate vulnerable zone.  

Tried & Tested offer a range of nutrient management planning tools that can help utilise your nutrients more efficiently, demonstrate NVZ compliance and reduce costs as well as environmental risk. You can find our toolkit here.