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'Farmers will fight' new rules on nitrate vulnerable zones

by 5m Editor
21 December 2006, at 2:12pm

UK - NFU Scotland has asked for "better science" and an extended consultation before new Executive rules are imposed on 14,000 farmers in nitrate vulnerable zones (NVZ).

The tighter rules to prevent possible groundwater pollution and environmental problems will probably come into force next year.

They will include a 170kg per hectare whole-farm annual limit for nitrogen fertiliser, longer closed periods when organic manures cannot be spread and more long-term slurry storage.

Arguing against these restrictions, backed by sound science, is "top of our immediate agenda", said Jim McLaren, the union's vice-president, this week.

He told journalists: "It's time-critical and finance-critical for thousands of farmers. No farm, or any business, can afford to have regulatory restrictions imposed in the absence of scientific evidence or proof that they will deliver a benefit."

Farmers and the union support any sensible efforts to protect water quality, he said: "But window-dressing measures to keep Brussels happy will only harm farming and do nothing for the environment."

There are four NVZs covering about 14 per cent of Scotland - part of Aberdeenshire, Moray, Banff and Buchan, part of Strathmore and Fife, part of Lothian and Borders and the whole of Lower Nithsdale.

Source: The Scotsman

5m Editor