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Diffuse Pollution, the Water Framework Directive and SCIMAP – an Environment Agency View

Linda Pope, Environment Agency

The Water Framework Directive requires the Environment Agency assesses the ecological status of all waterbodies, determine the pressures which are causing waterbodies to not achieve good ecological status and put in place actions plans to mitigate these pressures.
Diffuse pollution from agriculture causes approximately 30% of catchments to fail to achieve good ecological status. Of these catchment, about one third have issues with sediment alone, the others have multiple pressures which may include sediment and nutrients
The River Basin Plans currently being developed look at the methods available to assess and mitigate diffuse pollution from agriculture. The SCIMAP model is being used by the Agency as part of the planning for the RBP, and also for the ECSFI (England Catchment Sensitive Farming Initiative) which aims to reduce agricultural pollution by targeting measures on individual farms.