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10/04/14 11:10

In the zone

Proposed revisions to Nitrate Vulnerable Zones.

Proposals to revise the areas where farmers have to comply with the Nitrates Action Programme are now open to consultation.

Areas most at risk of surface water and groundwater being polluted through nitrates are designated as Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZs).

The proposals, which reflect the advances made in assessing the impact, are based on the outcome of the 2013 review into NVZs using the most up to date information and GIS mapping tools and include:

  • reducing the area currently designated as NVZs in Scotland by 24 per cent
  • designating one new area on the edge of the existing Strathmore/Fife area
  • proposing one new NVZ area in the Stranraer Lowland, with further consultation required on this

The proposals will also is also seek to improve the maintenance and quality of Scotland’s water environment.

Rural Affairs and Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said:

“Protecting Scotland’s water environment is important to us all, and farming plays a key role in that protection.

“The Scottish Government recognises and supports the role the farming sector is already playing in reducing diffuse pollution impacts across the country.

“Brian Pack, as part of his ‘Doing Better’ review, has noted the need to review NVZ designated areas, as well as calling for the need to promote more efficient nutrient management practice to benefit farming, the environment and mitigate climate change, and that’s what we’ve done.

“It’s important that we get the views of those within the industry on these proposals, but where we can benefit farmers I would like to see this happen as soon as possible.”

Notes to editors

More information on NVZs

The consultation closes on June 8, 2014

The Scottish Government must, under the EU guidelines, review and revise the NVZ designated areas at least once every four years. The review panel consisted of the Scottish Government, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, NFUS, Scottish Natural Heritage and Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) .

14.2% of Scotland is currently designated as NVZ.

Brian Pack OBE was appointed in January 2012 to consider how to reduce the red tape associated with farming, fulfilling a Scottish Government commitment to look at how best to help farmers free up time for farming by further reducing on-farm inspections and bureaucracy. More information is available from the Scottish Government website:

The Doing Better Initiative to Reduce Red Tape in Agriculture Interim Report is also available from the Scottish Government website: