NVZ review will bring costly regulatory change for all farmers
5th April 2012
NVZ proposals will impact on farmers both inside and outside designated areas warns Mark Morison, partner with property professionals Roger Parry & Partners.
DEFRA’s review of the Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZ) is well underway with some very significant proposals to consider. Included is a major change to the Silage, Slurry and Agricultural Fuel Oil Regulations (SSFAO). If agreed these changes will mean that all storage installations, regardless of age will have to meet SSFAO standards by December 2015.
The regulations, which have been in place since 1991, apply to all installations used, constructed, substantially reconstructed, or substantially enlarged after September 1991, regardless of NVZ designation. Installations that were in use or built before March 1991 (or where a contract for construction was entered into before March and completed before September 1991) are currently exempt structures.
Within the consultation DEFRA proposes to remove the exemption which prevents the regulations applying to exempt slurry, silage or fuel stores. This means that all sub-standard stores would need to be taken out of use and, where necessary, replaced.
Additionally it is proposed that the Regulations be aligned with current NVZ storage requirements - capacity for five months production for cattle slurry and six months for pig slurry – another costly implication for farmers regardless of location inside or outside the NVZ designation.
DEFRA’s consultation closed on the 16th March and we must now wait for the Government to publish its final proposals before they contact farmers affected by the new NVZ designations. There will be an appeals opportunity before the final regulations are laid before parliament (autumn 2012). The new regulations are then proposed to take effect from 1st January 2013.
On a more positive note DEFRA is proposing to implement some of the recommendations made in May 2011 by the Farming Regulation Task Force. Proposals include significant reductions in the paperwork required and the records needed to demonstrate compliance within NVZs.
In the meantime all farmers need to keep an eye on the proposals, regardless of whether they are eventually affected by the NVZ designation.
For further details contact Mark Morison on 01691 655334.