Farmers win half of nitrate zone appeals

DEFRA has spent more than £400,000 on tribunal appeals over designation of land as nitrate vulnerable zones

More than half of appeals by farmers and landowners over the designation of nitrate vulnerable zones (NVZs) in England and Wales have succeeded.

The zones limit fertiliser and manure spreading on farms, with the aim of keeping nitrate in surface and groundwater below the drinking water limit of 50 milligrams per litre.

EU national governments are required to designate areas as NVZs under the EU Nitrates Directive and review areas and rules every four years. In 2012, DEFRA consulted on extending designations across the whole of England and Wales, as well as amendments to general rules.

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