MAFF makes premature claim for success of nitrate curbs

A report by the Ministry of Agriculture (MAFF) claims that its Nitrate Sensitive Area (NSA) scheme has succeeded in reducing nitrate leaching to groundwater.1 But the claim is based on modelling results and has yet to be backed up by evidence of lower nitrate levels in springs and boreholes. The report also fails to emphasise that the biggest predicted reductions in nitrate losses are occurring in three NSAs where relatively large numbers of farmers have converted arable land to low-intensity grass.

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