Union Taking Action on NVZ Consultation

NFU Scotland urges its members and the wider farming community to respond to the Scottish Government’s consultation on proposed amendments to the rules that govern the Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZs) and is taking to the road to garner views.

The consultation on the NVZ action programme 2013-2017 will not consider changes to the areas in Scotland designated as NVZs – this will start later in 2012 – but it does propose a number of potentially significant changes to the NVZ rules.

The proposed changes include contentious extensions to closed periods for some soil types and increasing the nitrogen efficiency values attached to pig and cattle slurry.

NFU Scotland is running four member meetings in May at which we have asked Scottish Government and SEPA staff to come along to explain the rationale behind the potential changes to NVZ rules as well as discussing the latest water monitoring results.

NFU Scotland Vice President John Picken said:

“With 14 percent of Scotland’s agricultural land covered by existing NVZ legislation, these proposed amendments to the action programme will be of huge interest to a significant number of Scottish farmers.

“There is much to discuss.  The consultation includes views on extending the closed periods by up to a month on anything other than sandy or shallow soils.  At the same time, we want to explore the impact that attaching higher nitrogen values to certain slurries and manures may have on the Nmax calculations that determine the total nitrogen that can be applied to any one crop type.

“NFUS has long been arguing for a flexible approach to closed periods, taking account of local conditions.  That would allow a more risk-based and proportionate approach to the responsible spreading of slurry and manure that better matches the growing season in any one-year.

“We urge all our members in NVZ areas to attend the meetings we have organised and hear about the proposals.  Members’ views at these meetings will help inform our submission on the subject.” 


NFU Scotland will be hosting four meetings to discuss the NVZ action programme consultation.  Scottish Government and SEPA officials have been invited to present the proposals and discuss water monitoring results respectively.  The meetings are:

  • 7 May – Castle Hotel, Huntly – 19:30
  • 8 May – The Lodge, Carfraemill – 19:30
  • 9 May – The Cairndale Hotel, Dumfries – 19:30
  • 10 May – Huntingtower Hotel, Perth – 19:30

If members are unable to attend the member meetings and/or wish to submit written comments to NFU Scotland, please e-mail them to or post them to: Andrew Bauer, NFU Scotland, Rural Centre, West Mains, Ingliston, EH28 8LT

The Scottish Government’s consultation closes on 25 June 2012 and can be downloaded from:


Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Date Published:

News Article No.: 38/12

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