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Nitrate Zones: Gloucestershire

Volume 486: debated on Wednesday 14 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will review his policy on nitrate zones in and around Gloucestershire; if he will allow additional time for appeals; what steps his Department has taken to inform farmers of the creation of new nitrate zones; and if he will make a statement. (244414)

The EC nitrates directive requires member states to review their designations of nitrate vulnerable zones (NVZs) every four years and to revise them as necessary. Reviews of NVZs in England are conducted at the national scale and the last review was undertaken in 2006-07. Regulations giving effect to the recent review were laid in September 2008 and come into force on 1 January 2009.

The regulations also establish that owner-occupiers can appeal against the designation of their land within an NVZ, and set the deadline for submitting an appeal as 31 January 2009. The independent appeals panel charged with determining appeals has powers under the regulations to accept information submitted beyond this deadline.

My Department wrote to all farmers identified as likely to be in an NVZ in October. A number of press notices and information bulletins have been issued highlighting the introduction of the new regulations and advising farmers to check published maps of the new NVZs. These and other awareness-raising activities are ongoing.