Nitrate Vulnerable Zone Designations 2017-20 – Further Update from Defra

Published 23 February 17

Designation Notices for Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZs)

We are sending designation notices to all those who own or occupy agricultural holdings in Nitrate Vulnerable Zones. However, there will be some affected owners/occupiers for whom we do not have an address.

We are therefore continuing with our wider communications strategy, including this information note to stakeholders, who have regular dealings with or represent farmers.

Farmers can check whether their farm falls within an NVZ and the evidence associated with the NVZ designation by using the What’s in your backyard ( tool.

If a farmer thinks the land they own or occupy is, or may be, in an NVZ but they have not received a notice, they or their adviser should contact the Environment Agency as soon as they reasonably can. 

If a farmer is uncertain whether their land falls within an NVZ or has difficulty viewing the maps online then they can contact the Environment Agency. 

Telephone: 03708 506 506 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm)


Farmers wishing to appeal have 28 days from the date printed on their notice. Farmers who have received a further notice relating to the same relevant holding should use the notice with the latest date in calculating the 28-day period. This should allow the farmer the maximum amount of time available to submit an appeal.

Information on how to appeal is available at:

Notices issued

Notices have been issued in three tranches as follows.

Tranche Number

River Basin District



  • Solway Tweed
  • North West
  • Dee
  • Severn

3 January 2017


  • South East
  • South West
  • Anglian
  • Thames

23 January 2017


  • Humber
  • Northumbria

21 February 2017


Some notices in the first two tranches were sent to farmers’ agents, not directly to the farmers themselves.

We therefore issued further notices between 3 and 8 February to those we believe were not sent a notice directly (because it went to an agent). These notices will replace any earlier one received by the farmer.

For the third tranche we are issuing notices to all available addresses for individuals associated with farms located in NVZs .

Information for Farm Agents

Agents are not obliged to do anything with any notices they receive about NVZ designations which are intended for a farmer. Despite our further efforts, some agents may still receive notices intended for farmers.


NVZs are areas designated as being at risk from agricultural nitrate pollution. They include about 58% of land in England. We review NVZs every 4 years to account for changes in water quality.

NVZs for 2017 to 2020 came into effect on 31 December 2016.

For the majority of people there have been no changes to their designation and they continue to be, as previously, in a NVZ. There are however some changes with both new and de-designated areas. These are shown on the attached map.

Previous Information Note

This note follows the information provided in our mailing of 7 February 2017.