The High Court has granted permission for a judicial review of the Welsh Government's new Nitrate Vulnerable Zone (NVZ) anti-pollution regulations.

The National Farmers' Union (NFU Cymru), which opposes the regulations, had asked the courts to intervene and review ministers' plans to extend the NVZ policy to cover the entire country.

Previously, around 2.8 per cent of Welsh farmland was subject to the regulations, which restrict and monitor farmers' use of products that may pose a risk to water quality.

Farming unions have opposed the expansion of the regulations, and earlier this year NFU Cymru appointed lawyers to fight the plans.

As reported previously by The National, some farmers have reported facing huge financial costs to try and meet the NVZ targets.

NFU Cymru alleges the Welsh Government "acted unlawfully in failing to take into account all relevant information" during its Regulatory Impact Assessment, prior to the introduction of the regulations.

The union also challenged the government’s alleged "failure to include in the regulations a derogation from the applicable nitrogen limit for farmers with 80 per cent or more grassland".

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Following confirmation the High Court had granted permission for a judicial review, NFU Cymru president John Davies welcomed the news that "the issues we have raised amount to arguable grounds which merit consideration at a substantive hearing".

"NFU Cymru does not take this action lightly but has done so on behalf of NFU Cymru members, farmers and rural businesses across Wales," he added.

“Work will now be undertaken in line with court directions to prepare for the substantive hearing, and we are not able to comment further on the case at this time.”

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