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Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZs) are areas within EU countries where nitrate regulations apply. For a map of the NVZs in England click here.

Nitrogen needs to be regulated in the environment because, in its mineral form, it is highly soluble and makes its way readily into watercourses if not taken up by plant growth.

undefinedWhere water bodies have been polluted by nitrogen or other nutrients, it causes algae in the water to ‘bloom’ and shut out light from submerged plants that use light to oxygenate the water. Fish and other creatures in the water therefore die and the water body becomes void of macro organisms; this is a process called eutrophication. Nitrogen pollution has also been linked to human health problems where drinking water has been contaminated.

Nitrate Pollution Prevention Regulations 2015 

The Nitrates Directive seeks to limit nitrogen in ground and surface waters throughout the European Union. This has been implemented in the UK by a series of nitrate regulations consolidated in the Nitrate Pollution Prevention Regulations 2015. Farmers within the designated Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZs) must comply with these regulations.

For more details about the rules for pig farmers in England, click here.  

Compliance with the regulations

The Environment Agency monitors compliance and the government has published new guidance as well as an NVZ questions and answers.

NVZ calculators

AHDB Pork has produced two calculators to help pig farmers calculate their manure spreading/deposition areas and slurry storage requirements.

Please not that there is currently a discrepancy with the accuracy of the rainfall figures within the calculators. The average mm of rainfall should be calculated from expected rainfall, taken over 180 day monthly average.

(When you open the spreadsheet, please disable the macro for it to work. If you have an old version of Excel, you may experience difficulties when trying to view these calculators. We hope to upload another version shortly which should overcome this problem. If you would like assistance please get in touch: pork.environment@ahdb.org.uk). 

Further information