Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZ)

Where to find the Nitrate Vulnerable Zones map and data

What are Nitrate Vulnerable Zones

The European Commission (EC) nitrates directive requires areas of land that drain into waters polluted by nitrates to be designated as Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZs).

Farmers with land in NVZs have to follow mandatory rules to tackle nitrate loss from agriculture. 

Guidance for farmers in Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZs)



Key to understanding the Nitrate Vulnerable Zones map:

Nitrate Vulnerable Zones 2017 designations

These are the NVZ boundaries which apply from January 2017.

  Surface Waters - areas of land that drain into a freshwater water body which has or could have is action is not taken, a nitrate concentration greater than 50mg/l

  Groundwater - water held underground in the soil or in pores and crevices in rock, which has or could have if action is not taken, a nitrate concentration greater than 50mg/l

  Eutropic Waters - bodies of water, mainly lakes and estuaries, that are or may become enriched by nitrogen compounds which cause a growth of algae and other plant life that unbalances the quality of the water and to organisms present in the water.


How the 2017 Nitrate Vulnerable Zones were designated

Datasheets for 2017 Nitrate Vulnerable Zones


The 2017 Nitrate Vulnerable Zones can also be found on Defra's Magic Map 

The 2017 Nitrate Vulnerable Zones data is available to download under an Open Government Licence from DATA.GOV.UK