Diffuse pollution is from a range of sources but the effect is cumulative.

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The effects of diffuse pollution on water quality can be seen miles away from the source.

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Reducing diffuse pollution risk can help to improve farm business efficiency, profitability and can lower your farm carbon footprint.

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Improving farm and livestock profitability, making better use of resources, and keeping you on the right side of the regulations.

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How is Scotland Reducing Diffuse Pollution Risks?

Water quality improvements are being driven by European Legislation, namely the Water Framework Directive (WFD), which has resulted in the Water Environment and Water Services (Scotland) Act 2003 (WEWS Act).

Through the WEWS Act, Scottish Ministers have powers to introduce regulatory controls over water activities, in order to protect, improve and promote sustainable use of Scotland’s water environment. This includes wetlands, rivers, lochs, transitional waters (estuaries), coastal waters and groundwater.

A national coordinated approach is underway to work with farmers, forestry and recreational businesses to improve and protect water quality by reducing diffuse pollution risks.

Legislation is in place to reduce pollution risks from rural land use; forestry operations, golf courses and amenity land all have rules they have to follow when working near any ditch, burn, river, loch, wetland or coastal water. If voluntary actions and current legislation don’t have a positive impact on water quality, it is likely that more rules will follow.

The Diffuse Pollution Management Advisory Group (DPMAG) is focusing on improving Scotland's water environment by taking a partnership approach to reducing rural diffuse pollution risks. This will help to protect and improve the water environment and deliver the targets set in the river basin management plans for the Scotland and Solway Tweed river basin districts.

Part of the DPMAG strategy includes:

  • A national campaign to prevent water bodies from deterioration in status and make improvement where they are not far from a status boundary.
  • A targeted approach in identified ‘Priority Catchments’ where the extent of diffuse pollution problems on the water environment, requires a more focused approach.

For more information visit the DPMAG website.