The Government has decided to offer the grassland derogation for nitrate vulnerable zones (NVZs) in 2020 having reviewed evidence from NFU staff and members on its importance to dairy farmers across England.
The derogation had been in the balance for next year but the NFU successfully built the case for it to be offered.
If a derogation is granted, it is expected to last until the end of 2020. However, as the European Commission currently has ultimate control over the use of derogations, it could end earlier.
In the event that the derogation is removed before the end of the year, Defra has said it will endeavour to provide as much notice as possible and look to manage the situation so it does not adversely affect farmers.
Meanwhile, the NFU will continue to work closely with the department on the short- and long-term future of the derogation.
How to apply
The application period for the 2020 nitrate vulnerable zones (NVZs) grassland derogations began on Tuesday 1 October and will end on Tuesday 31 December 2019.
Each year, farmers in NVZs are permitted to apply an amount of manure containing no more than 170kg of nitrogen per hectare per year. Farmers with at least 80% grassland in NVZs can apply for a derogation from this loading limit. If granted, the derogation allows farmers to spread manure containing up to 250kg nitrogen per hectare per year. This is on the provision that they meet the conditions of the derogation.
To apply for a grassland derogation, you need to phone the Environment Agency National Customer Contact Centre. Call 03708 506 506 between 8:00am and 6:00pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays). Those granted a derogation for 2019 must reapply if they want a derogation for 2020.
To make your application, you will need to provide the following information for the 2020 calendar year:
- your farm name, address and County Parish Holding (CPH) number;
- the expected agricultural area and grassland area of your farm in hectares on 1 January 2019;
- the expected amount of manure nitrogen produced by grazing livestock kept on your farm during the year in kilograms of nitrogen (kgN);
- the amount of manure nitrogen produced by grazing livestock you intend to bring onto or send off your farm during the year (kgN);
- the expected total amount of manure nitrogen from grazing livestock on your farm during the year (kgN);
- the expected amount of manure nitrogen produced by non-grazing livestock kept on your farm during the year (kgN);
- the amount of manure nitrogen produced by non-grazing livestock you intend to bring onto or send off your farm during the year (kgN); and
- the expected total amount of manure nitrogen from non-grazing livestock on your farm during the year (kgN).
For further information on how to apply, please see the Grassland derogations for livestock manure in nitrate vulnerable zones section on GOV.UK.