Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

Implementation of the Nitrates Directive in England

Implementation of the Nitrates Directive in England

Government response published

The Committee published ' Implementation of the Nitrates Directive in England', its Seventh Report 2007-08 (HC 412), on 10 June 2008. The Report contains the oral and written evidence.

A Government Response was published on 14 October 2008.

Terms of Reference

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee will undertake a short inquiry into Defra's consultation on implementation of the Nitrates Directive in England.

As with our inquiry into the implementation of the Environmental Liability Directive last year, the written evidence received by the Committee will be the basis for a single evidence session. This form of inquiry is designed to allow the Committee to examine additional areas of Defra activity when time does not permit a number of evidence sessions.

The Committee will consider in particular:

€ Has Defra's implementation of the 1991 Directive been adequate?
€ How have levels of nitrate pollution changed since the Directive came into effect? How effective has the current Action Programme been in reducing nitrate pollution?
€ Defra says that the area designated as Nitrate Vulnerable Zones needs to increase from 55% to 70% of England: is it right?
€ Whether the proposed Nitrates Action Programme measures should apply throughout the whole of England, rather than only on land designated as Nitrate Vulnerable Zones
€ What should be the timetable for introducing any changes in the way the Nitrates Directive is implemented?
€ What are the costs and benefits of Defra's individual key proposals for the revised Action Programme, namely:
− Whole farm manure nitrogen loading limit
− Closed period (organic manures)
− Manure storage
− Closed period (manufactured nitrogen fertilizers)
− Crop nitrogen requirement limit
− Spreading locations
− Spreading techniques
− Record keeping
− Cover crops
Should any of these be abandoned or modified?
€ What advice and support farmers will need from Defra to implement a revised Action Programme?
€ How can Defra encourage greater adoption of anaerobic digestion as a way of managing manure?
€ How the proposed new Nitrates Action Programme is affecting those with existing Entry Level Stewardship agreements in existing Nitrate Vulnerable Zones.

The deadline for submissions was Monday 21 January 2008.

Oral Evidence

Wednesday 5 March 2008
National Farmers' Union; Phil Woolas MP, Minister of State (Environment), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Press notices

08/10/08 Government responses to be published
10/06/08 Report published
22/05/08 Report to be published
05/02/08 Evidence session announced
18/12/07 New inquiry