CLA statement on Nitrate Vulnerable Zones boundary maps published by the Environment Agency
CLA President Harry Cotterell said: "The Nitrates Directive is one of the most prescriptive pieces of environmental legislation to hit farmers and land managers over the past 10 years. The CLA has lobbied Defra and the Environment Agency to ensure our members are treated fairly by proposed designations for Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZs). We have tried to help make the appeals process more transparent for those who farm in a NVZ so they can gather evidence and set out their case without being unfairly disadvantaged.
"The UK Government has not followed the approach set out by other member states which are offering capital grants for slurry storage and supporting farm-scale anaerobic digestion better than in the UK. Defra has been unwilling to change the appeals process, and the HM Courts and Tribunals Service has set an appeals window of only 28 days to make an appeal from the time a farmer is notified by Defra.
"The CLA is urging its members to check the boundary maps published today (17 May) by the Environment Agency because we believe 28 days is not long enough to prepare an appeal. Although not a perfect solution to Defra's failure to extend the appeals process, the early release of these maps will give those farmers and land managers who are considering an appeal a few vital weeks to pull their cases together but it is essential to view the maps now."
Proposed boundaries for Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (VZs) can be accessed on the Environment Agency website. These are the definitive proposals it will make to the Defra Secretary of State who will then turn the proposals into NVZs on 1 January 2013, subject to the outcome of any appeals.
Defra is expected to publish guidance about the appeals process on its website. The consideration of appeals is by the HM Courts and Tribunals Service. The guidance will highlight that the Secretary of State will notify every registered owner or occupier of proposed NVZ land in mid-June which will trigger formal notice for the start of the 28-day window for appeals.
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