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Nitrate Vulnerable Zones

Image showing Nitrate Vulnerable Zones in ScotlandThe leaching of nitrate to both ground and surface waters is a natural consequence of agricultural activity but excessive levels of nitrates can alter the natural ecology of rivers and pollute drinking waters. 
In order to identify those areas where the groundwater was most at risk of contamination by nitrate from agriculture, data on land use, soil permeability and rainfall were combined to produce a nitrate leaching potential map for Scotland. The map shows that the areas most vulnerable to groundwater contamination lie in the east. Where these areas coincide with underlying rocks that are permeable, Nitrate Vulnerable Zones have been designated. The farmers in these zones have to adhere to strict rules designed to reduce the amount of nitrate leaching.

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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.