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    Brussels’ Demands on NVZs Defy Logic
03/12/07

NFU Scotland has described the news that the European Commission has demanded the imposition of costly new Nitrate Vulnerable Zone regulations on farmers as a devastating blow.

NFUS President Jim McLaren

jim mclaren

The Union believes the new rules contradict scientific evidence and are a defeat for common sense.

NFUS has been arguing for nearly two years that the proposals, such as those which would force farmers to build large new slurry storage facilities costing tens of thousands of pounds, lack scientific justification.

Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary Richard Lochhead has now offered to explore every option to alleviate the huge burden of this decision and NFUS has undertaken to work closely with the Scottish Government on this in the coming weeks.

NFUS President Jim McLaren said:

“This is a devastating blow. What is most galling is that I feel we have won the argument, but lost the decision. All I have said from day one is that if someone can present me with evidence to show we have a nitrate problem which requires 6 months storage to solve, I would accept it. That evidence has never arrived on my desk and it would seem that we are being forced to accept this simply because the rest of Europe has.

“The new Scottish Government has already done much to meet the high expectations of the industry and there was therefore a real hope that this administration would be able to chart a route out of this NVZ mess. However, it is a route which eluded their predecessors and has ultimately eluded them

“The Scottish Government is clear that the lack of an Action Plan incorporating an exact 22 and 26-week storage requirement would have prevented approval of Scotland’s Rural Development Programme by the European Commission. And we have been told that no amount of further discussion or delay would have changed this. This, on top of the threat of legal action, proved the final straws for the Scottish Government in this fight. It is the same threat which has forced Governments elsewhere in Europe to act and we are the latest to suffer.

“For livestock producers in NVZs, that have suffered a hellish Autumn anyway, hearing news that they may face a bill of tens of thousands of pounds is horrendous. The essential task now is to sit down with the Scottish Government and chart a way through this nightmare. Grant assistance for storage will be top of the agenda along with a long lead in time to allow the industry to adapt. The Cabinet Secretary has assured us he will make every effort to minimise the effects of this announcement on people’s livelihoods, an assurance I appreciate, and this is the basis on which we must now go forward.”

link Natural England calls for a greener CAP
link NFUS Tells Lords of Long-Term CAP Vision
link Welsh Farmers Fuelling the Future

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NFU Scotland