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Farmers' union hits out at 'premature changes'.

Byline: Karen Dent

PLANS to make major changes to the Nitrate Vulnerable Zone (NVZ) action programme are "premature unnecessary", according to NFU.

The organisation spoke out following the publication of Defra's NVZ consultation, which aims to change some of the key measures which were introduced in 2008.

The consultation is open until March next year and the Government plans to implement the changes in January 2013.

NFU head of policy services Andrew Clark said: "The consultation states nitrate levels have generally fallen many surface waters since the last View .

farming practice, the industry's Tried Tested initiative, as well as previous NVZ action programmes. "The reducing pressure from agricultural nitrate is reflected in a small important reduction in NVZ designations for the first time.

"We believe this makes Defra's case 'whole territory' designation all the more unnecessary.

"The case for changes to the current action programme will be thoroughly tested. Some of the key measures introduced at the previous review 2008 are only now being implemented fully, so their effect is yet to be measured."

He said it was premature to be making substantial changes, many of which would be potentially costly to However, he welcomed Defra's commitment for farms that present low of nitrate pollution, alongside linking closed periods for slurry spreading to local rainfall.

Farmers within NVZs are being reminded capacity for at least six months' production for pig slurry and poultry manure, and for at least five months production of other slurries from January 1. These are the final part of the
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Dec 23, 2011
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