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EUROHARP (UK) - Evaluating national methods for quantifying diffuse nutrient losses from land to water bodies - ES0102

Between 1998 and 2000, an OSPAR scientific working group developed nine harmonised reporting (HARP) guidelines for nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) losses to the Maritime Area. However, no agreement was possible on a single method for quantifying “diffuse” losses (i.e. losses from agricultural land and non-urban non-agricultural land such as woodland). An EC Framework V study was developed at OSPAR’s request to evaluate the performance and suitability of the methods used in different European countries for policy support at catchment / national level. This CSG7 focuses on the UK part of the study for which 50% funding is sought.

EUROHARP (UK) will focus on an objective assessment of the methods developed in England and Wales for quantifying diffuse N and P losses from land to water bodies for policy support, and to satisfy our international reporting obligations (EC Nitrates Directive; EC Water Framework Directive; OSPAR). The methods used have all been recently developed in MAFF-funded projects (NT2201, NT2202, NT2203, PE0105) and will include datasets held within the MAGPIE DSS framework (NT1701). The proposed research will apply these methods to six catchments covering a representative range of soils, hydrology, climate and land use. The study will evaluate the accuracy, strengths and weaknesses, cost-effectiveness, and suitability of the methods developed in England and Wales against those from other European countries, produce a synthesis of this intercomparison of model performance, and contribute to developing an “electronic toolbox” to disseminate results to end-users involved in developing, implementing and evaluating agri-environment policy measures. This will provide end-users with concise guidance on the most appropriate model(s) for specific catchment types given data availability, accuracy requirements and fiscal constraints. In turn, this will improve the transparency of the calculation and reporting of nutrient (N, P) losses from diffuse sources, and assist UK policymakers in evaluating the efficiency of abatement strategies related to the implementation of EU policy (e.g. Water Framework Directive). Assessments of nutrient sources, transport / retention and associated eutrophication risks at national and international level will also assist in the targeting of mitigation measures.

This work will strengthen the credibility of MAFF-funded methods developed for quantifying N and P losses from land to water, raise their profile at European level, and help them gain acceptance amongst the international scientific community. Without this work, other methods developed by EC member states (e.g. the German MONERIS system) may, by default, become more widely accepted in Europe for modelling nutrient pollution at catchment scale.
The primary objectives of EUROHARP are to provide end-users (environmental policy makers, implementers and evaluators at national and international level) with a thorough scientific evaluation of contemporary quantification tools (models) and their ability to estimate diffuse nutrient (N, P) losses to surface freshwater systems and coastal waters, and thereby support reporting obligations (OSPAR, EC) and the planned implementation of the new Water Framework Directive.

1. EUROHARP (UK) will focus on the scientific objective of assessing the accuracy, strengths and weaknesses, cost-effectiveness and practicability of each model, and include guidance on suitability for application to different catchment types, and responsiveness to changes in land use and land management.

2. EUROHARP (UK) will contribute to the development of an electronic “toolbox” for the identification of benchmarking methodologies with respect to both costs and benefits, for the quantification of diffuse nutrient losses under different environmental conditions across Europe. This toolbox will provide end-users with information and guidance concerning the different methodologies available for assessing N and P losses, and their suitability for application to specific catchments.

The work covered in this CSG7 will include use of spatial datasets developed under NT1701 (MAGPIE) and improved upon under NT2202 and NT2203. It will also include developments to link the methodology developed under NT2201 to the MAGPIE framework datasets to facilitate automated application of this method to other UK and/or EU catchments for policy support.
Project Documents
• Final Report : EUROHARP (UK) - Evaluating national methods for quantifying diffuse nutrient losses from land to water bodies   (731k)
• Final Report : EUROHARP (UK) - Evaluating national methods for quantifying diffuse nutrient losses from land to water bodies   (160k)
• Final Report - Annex : EUROHARP (UK) - Evaluating national methods for quantifying diffuse nutrient losses from land to water bodies   (560k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2002

To: 2005

Cost: £481,017
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Environmental Protection              
Peer Review              
Water Pollution