Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

Session 2007-08

18 December 2007


Implementation of the Nitrates Directive in England

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 Committee invites all interested parties to address these and related matters in writing by Monday 21 January 2008. More information about the required format of submissions is given below.


Submissions should be in Word or rich text format and sent by e-mail to efracom@parliament.uk. The body of the e-mail must include a contact name, telephone number and postal address. The e-mail should also make clear who the submission is from.

Submissions must address the terms of reference. They should be as brief as possible, and no more than 1,500 words. Paragraphs should be numbered for ease of reference, and the document must include an executive summary (no more than one page long). Please do not resubmit your response to the Government's consultation paper of August 2007€”if you need to enclose your response to the Government's consultation paper, please do so only as an appendix to your submission to this inquiry.

Committees make public much of the evidence they receive during inquiries. If you do not wish your submission to be published, you must clearly say so. If you wish to include private or confidential information in your submission to the Committee, please contact the Clerk of the Committee to discuss this. Please bear in mind that Committees are not able to investigate individual cases.

Personal information, such as address and contact details, should be provided separately from the body of your submission. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Submissions should be original work, not previously published or circulated elsewhere. Once submitted, no public use should be made of the submission unless you have first obtained permission from the Committee.

For further details about this inquiry, please contact Chris Stanton, Clerk, on 020 7219 3263.

Information about the Committee can be found at: http://www.parliament.uk/efracom



Media Enquiries: Laura Kibby: Tel: 020 7219 0718, Mob: 079174 88557, Email: kibbyl@parliament.uk

Committee Website: www.parliament.uk/efracom

Watch committees and parliamentary debates online: www.parliamentlive.tv

Publications / Reports / Reference Material: Copies of all select committee reports are available from the Parliamentary Bookshop (12 Bridge St, Westminster, 020 7219 3890) or the Stationery Office (0845 7023474). Committee reports, press releases, evidence transcripts, Bills; research papers, a directory of MPs, plus Hansard (from 8am daily) and much more, can be found on www.parliament.uk