The following provides a reference library of selected publications relevant to ‘Sources of Pollution’. 


Description and website address

Agricultural phosphorus and eutrophication

This is a US Department of Agriculture publication which looks at the processes of Phosphorus supply from agricultural land and methods which may be used to minimise its entry into watercourses. September 2003, 43 pages, 431kb.


Ammonia in the UK


This document explains why ammonia emissions from farming are causing concern, summarizes the findings of research into the sources and effects of ammonia emissions on the environment, and describes studies to identify and develop practical and cost-effective ways of reducing Ammonia emissions from farming.  Defra 2002 91 pages, 1.03MB. A hard copy of the document is available from Defra’s Publications.

Appraisal of rural BMPs for controlling diffuse pollution and enhancing biodiversity

This is a report produced by the Scotland and Northern Ireland Forum for Environmental Research (SNIFFER) which reviews Best Management Practices (BMPs) for controlling farm-derived diffuse pollution. These comprise planning and general farm measures, in-field, field margin, in-stream and steading measures. BMPs are achieved by reducing inputs, detaining potential run-off water, preventing soil dislodgement, intercepting sediments before they reach watercources.

Report No:  WFD13 Available from FWR, Allen House, The Listons, Liston Road, Marlow, Bucks SL7 1FD.


Or as a download from SNIFFER’s website (search for WFD13 project).


Cost curve assessment of phosphorus mitigation options relevant to UK agriculture

This research project has attempted to prioritise phosphorus mitigation options for losses from agricultural soils in terms of the probable costs, practicalities and applicability in England and Wales. A series of simple cost curves have been produced for different farming systems and mitigation strategies. The website contains both a summary report and the base data for the cost curves. There is a reasonable list of useful references in the report. September 2003, 16 pages.


Dietary strategies for reduced phosphorus excretion and improved water quality:  Critical evaluation of options for reducing phosphorus loss from agriculture

Abstracts from conference held at Wageningen University, Netherlands August 2004. 105 pages, 815kb.


Diffuse Pollution
An Introduction to the Problems and Solutions

A book and DVD (2005) covering the nature, causes and the significance of diffuse pollution of both urban and rural origin. Best management practices to tackle the problems are examined as are the ways in which the adoption of such practices may be brought about. Use is made of case studies from several countries to examine the strengths and weaknesses of various approaches.

Edited by N. Campbell, B. D'Arcy, A. Frost, V. Novotny, A. Sansom

328 pages, ISBN: 9781900222532

Displacement of phosphorus in structured soils

This is a doctoral thesis from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences looking at the mechanisms of phosphorus loss from agricultural soils, dealing with soil processes in detail. 2001, 1.59MB, 30 pages.


Economics of
marine pollution

Thesis from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences looking at how difference policy instruments may cost-effectively reduce marine eutrophication. 2002, 246kb, 41 pages.


Environmental costs of the eutrophication of fresh waters in England and Wales

This research was commissioned to produce an indicative assessment of the environmental costs of eutrophication in order to assist in the prioritisation of remedial actions. It comprises a scoping study with the aim of producing a preliminary estimate of the cost of eutrophication in fresh waters of England and Wales. This will begin to put the costs of eutrophication in perspective with other environmental problems, and will identify areas where costs are currently unknown. Report produced by Essex University on behalf of the Environment Agency. November 2002, 56 pages.

European catchments and their impact on the coast (EUROCAT)

An EU 5th framework programme project (2001-2004) designed to collect and assess available information on sources, fluxes and concentration levels of different compounds for eight catchments across Europe, including the Humber in the UK. The information was integrated with socio-economic data and combined with natural science models and socio-economic tools and used to determine the critical loads of selected substances under different development scenarios for each river basin.


Eutrophication in Northern Ireland’s waters

This document presents the situation in 1999 with regard to eutrophication in Northern Ireland, summarises the action being taken to minimise its impact and proposes possible future management strategies. 141kb, 28 pages.

Eutrophication and some European waters of Restricted Exchange


Regions of Restricted Exchange are an important feature of the European coastline. They are historically preferred sites for human settlement and aquaculture and their ecosystems, and consequent human use, which may be at risk from eutrophication. The EU OAERRE project concerns ‘Oceanographic Applications to Eutrophication in Regions of Restricted Exchange’. It began in July 2000 and studied six sites. 2003, 864kb, 37 pages.


Eutrophication in Europe’s coastal waters

The main objectives of this report are to evaluate the causes, state and development of eutrophication in European coastal waters and identify areas where more monitoring data are needed to improve the assessment. 2001.

Evaluation of the Nitrogen sources and inputs to tidal waters in Northern Ireland


An investigation to determine the loadings of nitrate, ammonium and dissolved reactive phosphorus to tidal waters. The primary focus of the study was on nitrate loadings, which were partitioned between the following sources: agricultural land, uplands, forests, other land, and wastewater treatment works and industrial inputs. The division was primarily to determine whether the contribution of agricultural land to the total nitrate loading was sufficiently high as to merit designating the catchments of eutrophic, or potentially eutrophic, waters as Nitrate Vulnerable Zones. March 2004, 718 kb, 118 pages.

Four Point Plan for improved farm waste management

The Four Point Plan is a DIY tool for livestock farmers to suggest straightforward ways that reduce diffuse pollution risk from agricultural practices. March 2004, 1.1MB, 30 pages.

Hazardous substances in the European marine environment - trends in metals and persistent organic pollutants

This report provides an assessment of trends in concentrations of six hazardous substances in mussels and fish in Europe’s seas since 1985. The trends are linked to reduction measures, foodstuff limit values and trends in inputs to coastal and marine waters. The results are presented in a series of maps. 2003.

Interaction between fish farming and algal communities of the Scottish waters - a review

A review, based on government reports and scientific literature, of the relationship between harmful algal blooms, eutrophication and fish farming in Scottish waters, 2003, 1.08MB, 73 pages.


Land use for achieving ‘good ecological status’ of water bodies in England and Wales: a theoretical exploration for Nitrogen and Phosphorus

A review of the measures and the scale and achievability required to meet the Water Framework Directive. December 2003, 30 pages.


Management of eutrophicated coastal zones

A thesis from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences which looks at how to develop policies to reduce eutrophication which can be effective over a heterogeneous natural and economic landscape. 2004, 424kb, 45 pages.



Manner is a decision support system that can be used to predict accurately the fertiliser Nitrogen value of organic manures on a field specific basis.

Nitrate – an update of the human health medical case

Nitrate, Agriculture & the Environment, Addiscott, T.M., et al, 2005, 305 pages. Published by CABI Publishing, ISBN 0851999131. The book includes a chapter on Nitrates & Health.


Nitrogen leaching in small agricultural catchments

A thesis from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in which small agricultural monitoring catchments in Sweden were used for the application and testing of model-based methods for quantification of nitrogen leaching from arable fields, and for analysis of measured data. The physically-based modelling system SOILNDB was used for quantification of nitrogen leaching, by direct simulations using monitored field data and by producing field nitrogen leaching coefficients. 2004, 1.3MB, 37 pages.


Non-agricultural sources of groundwater nitrate: a review and case study

This paper quantifies the amount of nitrogen released from various urban sources into the groundwater environment and considers their significance to the wider environment. 2005 14 pages, 620kb.


Nutrients in European ecosystems

This report presents a pan-European overview of the geographical distribution, and severity of adverse effects, of excessive anthropogenic inputs of nutrients in European ecosystems 1999, 5.6MB.

Nutrients in rivers, lakes and coastal waters

Facts and figures from the Environment Agency


Planning land applications of nutrients for efficiency and the environment. A free software version of the Fertiliser Recommendations.


Prevention of environmental pollution from agricultural activities

Code of Good Practice, giving practical advice to farmers etc on minimising pollution, ISBN 0-7559-4106-3, March 2005


A procedure to estimate the response of aquatic systems to changes in phosphorus and nitrogen inputs

Produced by the US Department of Agriculture, this document provides a simple assessment procedure to estimate the responsiveness of a water body to changes in the supply (loading) of phosphorus and nitrogen. Lakes, rivers, streams and estuaries may be assessed with this procedure. It is a clear, though fairly technical publication. October 1999, 43 pages.


Reducing diffuse pollution

Package to help deliver the water quality outcome of the Scottish Rural Development Programme.

Reducing diffuse water pollution: The Demonstration Test  Catchment project

Article by Prof. Bob Harris in FWR Newsletter Issue 2 2010


Report on the environmental aspects of the Nitrates Directive in Northern Ireland

Compiled by a DoE and DARD working group this document looks at the extent of eutrophication in Northern Ireland, looks at nitrogen sources into the environment and considers the implications of the Nitrates Directive. October 2002, 63 pages, 1.8MB.

Reducing water pollution from agricultural sources: The farm nutrient management scheme

Northern Ireland Audit Office: Report by the Comptroller and Auditor General for Northern Ireland, issued March 2011.

Review and synthesis of the environmental impacts of aquaculture

This report for the Scottish Government looks at the environmental impact of nutrients, waste, anti-foulants, medicines, diseases and fish escapes arising from fish farming, 2002, 375kb, 80 pages.

Tackling diffuse water pollution in England

The Environment Agency’s approach to tackling diffuse water pollution, such as run-off from agricultural land, has not, to date, proved value for money. The development of River Basin Management Plans now offers an opportunity to target work by the Agency and others to tackle this complex problem.

Published by National Audit Office, 8 July 2010


UK inland water quality and pollution statistics

Facts and figures from the UK Rivers Network

Water Framework Directive - indicative costs of agricultural measures

This report was commissioned by Defra to consider the cost of measures which need to be undertaken by the agricultural sector to reduce pollution and contribute towards compliance with the Water Framework Directive. The report looks at what additional measures will be required over and above those already identified for compliance with existing water protection directives, reviews the existing knowledge about the contribution of agriculture to pollution and identifies costs levels for individual farmers. July 2003, 110 pages.


Water pollution arising from land containing chemical contaminants

Scottish Environment Protection Agency publication offering an introduction to assessing whether contaminated land is causing water pollution including relevant legislation. 2nd ed. 2012.




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