Agricultural nitrate pollution prevention
Agricultural nitrate pollution prevention

The following Environment guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Agricultural nitrate pollution prevention
  • Brexit impact
  • The Nitrates Directive
  • Nitrate vulnerable zones
  • Action programmes
  • Review
  • Criminal offence
  • Civil sanctions
  • Cross compliance
  • Other controls on the agricultural use and storage of nitrates
  • more

Brexit impact

As of exit day (31 January 2020), the UK is no longer an EU Member State. However, in accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement, the UK has entered an implementation period, during which it continues to be subject to EU law. This has an impact on this content.

For further guidance, see Practice Note: Brexit—impact on environmental law and News Analysis: Brexit Bulletin—key updates, research tips and resources.

The Nitrates Directive

The Nitrates Directive requires controls on nitrates in farming. It aims to reduce water pollution from agricultural nitrates and prevent further pollution. It requires Member States to establish action programmes containing rules that apply in nitrate vulnerable zones (NVZs). Every four years, they must review both the areas that need to be designated as NVZs and the content of action programmes. (Council Directive 91/676/EEC concerning the protection of waters against pollution from agricultural sources).

The Directive is currently implemented in England and Wales by regulations made in 2013, 2015 and 2019. These replace the Nitrate Pollution Prevention Regulations 2008, SI 2008/2349 and the Nitrate Pollution Prevention (Wales) Regulations 2008, SI 2008/3143 (W.278).

From 29 March 2019, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Miscellaneous Amendments etc) Regulations, SI 2019/526 (regulation 5) makes amendments to the Nitrate Pollution Prevention Regulations 2015 by substituting the existing definition in regulation 2(1) with