Nitrates vulnerable zones (NVZ)

Select an option from the list below to view high resolution images and data about groundwater bodies quality and quantity across England, Scotland and Wales.

The Nitrate vulnerable zones (NVZ) are areas designated as being at risk from agricultural nitrate pollution.

These NVZ’s 2017 pre appeals designations are the NVZ boundaries which apply from January 2017, but are subject to appeals.

  • Surface Waters are defined within the Nitrates Directive as polluted if they contain or could contain, if preventative action is not taken, nitrate concentrations greater than 50mg/l
  • Groundwaters are defined within the Nitrates Directive as polluted if they contain or could contain, if preventative action is not taken, nitrate concentrations greater than 50mg/l
  • Eutrophic waters are defined within the Nitrates Directive if they have elevated nitrate concentrations and are eutrophic. Eutrophication is defined in the Nitrates Directive as "the enrichment of water by nitrogen compounds, causing an accelerated growth of algae and higher forms of plant life to produce an undesirable disturbance to the balance of organisms present in the water and to the quality of the water concerned"

© Environment Agency copyright and/or database right 2019. All rights reserved. Derived in part from geological mapping data provided by the British Geological Survey © UKRI. Derived in part from data provided by the National Soils Research Institute © Cranfield University. Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database rights 2019. Derived in part from data provided by the Department for the Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs © Crown 2019 copyright Defra. Derived in part from data provided by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology © UKRI. Derived in part from data provided by UK Water Companies.

Nitrate vulnerable zones - England
Title Nitrate vulnerable zones - England
Source Environment Agency
Enquiries data.info@environment-agency.gov.uk
Scale(s) 1:50k
Coverage England
Format GIS polygon data
Price Free for use through Open Government License with attribution statement
Uses Local to national level use
UKSO map viewer View in UKSO Map Viewer
WMS https://map.bgs.ac.uk/...
Image(s) High resolution

In 2016, five areas of Scotland were designated as NVZs. The five NVZ areas were designated as nitrate levels from agricultural sources either resulted, or would likely result, in a concentration equal or exceeding 50mg/l of nitrates in either surface water or groundwater. The five areas within Scotland, currently designated as NVZs, are: Aberdeenshire, Banff, Buchan and Moray, Strathmore and Fife, Stranraer Lowlands, Edinburgh, East Lothian and Borders, and Lower Nithsdale.

© Copyright Scottish Government, contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right (2019).

Nitrate vulnerable zones - Scotland
Title Nitrate vulnerable zones - Scotland
Source Scottish Environment Protection Agency
Enquiries SSDI.Metadata@gov.scot
Scale(s) 1:50k
Coverage Scotland
Format GIS polygon data
Price Free for use through Open Government License with attribution statement
Uses Local to national level use
UKSO map viewer View in UKSO Map Viewer
WMS https://map.bgs.ac.uk/...
Image(s) High resolution

The Welsh Government is responsible for maintaining and improving the quality of the aquatic environment, and carries out a review of the NVZ areas every four years.

  • Surface Waters are defined within the Nitrates Directive as polluted if they contain or could contain, if preventative action is not taken, nitrate concentrations greater than 50mg/l
  • Groundwaters are defined within the Nitrates Directive as polluted if they contain or could contain, if preventative action is not taken, nitrate concentrations greater than 50mg/l
  • Eutrophic waters are defined within the Nitrates Directive if they have elevated nitrate concentrations and are eutrophic. Eutrophication is defined in the Nitrates Directive as "the enrichment of water by nitrogen compounds, causing an accelerated growth of algae and higher forms of plant life to produce an undesirable disturbance to the balance of organisms present in the water and to the quality of the water concerned"

Contains Natural Resources Wales information © Natural Resources Wales and Database Right. All rights Reserved. Contains Ordnance Survey Data. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100019741. Crown Copyright and Database Right.

Nitrate vulnerable zones - Wales
Title Nitrate vulnerable zones - Wales
Source Natural Resources Wales
Enquiries opendata@naturalresourceswales.gov.uk
Scale(s) 1:50k
Coverage Wales
Format GIS polygon data
Price Free for use through Open Government License with attribution statement
Uses Local to national level use
UKSO map viewer View in UKSO Map Viewer
WMS https://map.bgs.ac.uk/...
Image(s) High resolution