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Nitrate Vulnerable Zones: Manure

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 22406, tabled on 21 June 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many prosecutions there have been for the illegal storage of manure waste in nitrate vulnerable zones in each of the last four years.

Answered on

4 July 2022

The Environment Agency (EA) issued 24 warning letters under the Nitrate Vulnerable Zone (NVZ) regulations between November 2019 and June 2022. During this period, the EA issued 1755 improvement actions relating to storage of organic manures. Since November 2019, the EA has separately prosecuted 25 farmers for causing pollution under agricultural regulations. Two of these prosecutions included offences under the NVZ regulations.

The EA takes a proactive advice-led approach to enforcement, working with farmers to bring them into compliance before taking formal enforcement action. The EA has found that most farmers take the opportunity to benefit from inspector advice, meaning formal action is often not required to deliver the desired outcomes. For example, the River Axe Regulatory Project, which aims to drive change on dairy farms, has resulted in an estimated £6-8 million investment in farm infrastructure improvements and an enhancement of 30km of watercourses that discharge to the local Special Area of Conservation.