Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland
If your farm is in a Nitrate Vulnerable Zone (NVZ), an area designated as being at risk from nitrate pollution, you must comply with the nitrate vulnerable zone action programme rules.
Farmers must comply with the NVZ action programme rules to be entitled to the full subsidy payment under the single farm payment scheme.
There are four NVZs in Scotland. You can find out if your farm is in an NVZ by looking at maps on the Scottish Government's website.
You must keep accurate records for individual fields, and your farm as a whole, for three years. These must detail:
You must prepare a fertiliser and manure management plan before 1 March each year, for that calendar year, which contains:
You will need to refer to booklets 4, 5 and 6 of the Scottish Government's guidelines for farmers in Nitrate Vulnerable Zones to prepare your fertiliser and manure management plan.
You must calculate your current storage capacity for livestock manures and slurries.
You must provide at least:
You must keep records of all your calculations for slurry storage requirements.
Your risk assessment plan must include a map of your farm showing:
You must not spread more than:
Annual limits are calculated for the period between 19 December of one year to 18 December of the following year. They apply to all organic manure, including wastes such as sewage sludge and nitrogen deposited by grazing animals.
You must leave a period of 3 weeks between each application of livestock manure.
You must not use high trajectory raised splash plates for spreading slurry.
You must spread nitrogen fertilisers and organic manure accurately to your crops.
You must not apply:
If you are a livestock or grassland farmer and meet certain conditions to help protect water, you may be able to apply for a derogation, allowing you to farm to a limit of 250kg N/ha/year from livestock manure.
All derogations will last until the end of the calendar year, and you will have to renew your derogation each year. If you are renewing your application, you must send details of your fertiliser use for the preceding year with your application.
If applying livestock manure you must check with the appropriate limits for the application of nitrogen, and the storage requirements.
If your farm is in the Moray, Aberdeenshire, Banff and Buchan NVZ, you must not apply any chemical nitrogen fertilisers from:
If your farm is in any other NVZ, you must not apply any chemical nitrogen fertilisers from:
If you need to apply fertiliser during the closed period, you must notify your local Scottish Government Rural Payments and Inspections Directorate (SGRPID) area office, in writing, within three days of applying the fertiliser.
On sandy or shallow soils you must not apply organic manure with high available nitrogen content (eg cattle and pig slurry, poultry manure and liquid digested sewage sludge) between:
On any other type of soil, you must not apply organic manure with high available nitrogen content between:
The Scottish Government has produced detailed guidelines on the NVZ action programme rules and what you need to do to comply.
Information on preventing water pollution from farms is available from the Farming and Water Scotland website.
View our latest videos & subscribe to our channel.