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Implementing component 2 of Demonstration Test Catchments – to test integrated diffuse pollution mitigation measures for arable cropping, livestock, dairy and other farming systems - WQ0225

Defra is committed to supporting and developing British farming, encouraging sustainable food production and helping to enhance the environment and biodiversity to improve the quality of life by reducing pollution. The Water Framework Directive (WFD) obliges member states to identify water bodies in poor ecological status, determine the causes of poor status, and to put in place cost-effective mitigation. These are challenging objectives; meeting them requires both new science and the synthesis and scaling up of existing knowledge at the field and farm scale to the catchment scale appropriate for WFD. Efforts to demonstrate the effectiveness of mitigation measures to prevent diffuse pollution have a long history in the UK. However, most work to date focuses on demonstrating the effectiveness of individual mitigation measures with few addressing the cumulative effect of combinations introduced into catchments.
Component 2 of the Demonstration Test Catchments (DTC) programme will address these challenges through work across the three consortia (Avon/Tamar, Eden and Wensum) which will be brought together to generate national guidance. Building on the characterisation and monitoring activities of Component 1 the three consortia will install and experimentally test a range of diffuse pollution mitigation measures. These will cover the range of the source-mobilisation-delivery continuum in order to fully assess the potential for reducing impacts on ecosystems. The effectiveness of mitigation measures will be assessed through economic analysis and by undertaking a weight-of-evidence approach using multiple monitoring methods and source apportionment techniques. Findings will be developed by the research consortia into catchment plans for the DTCs and the insights gained will be integrated into national guidance and widely communicated.
2.2 Objectives

The general aims of the project and specific evidence objectives are described in Defra’s specification under this call (FG1114). Overall, the aim is to implement and test sets of measures across the three Demonstration Test Catchment consortia in order to generate best practice approaches to diffuse pollution mitigation that can be more widely applied across England and Wales. To achieve the overall aim, this proposal has the following specific objectives:

1. Coordinate work on the testing of measures in the Demonstration Test Catchments. This will include measures that are installed through the following means:
• Experimental measures installed directly by this project
• Installed on a voluntary basis by participating farmers
• Measures funded through agri-environment, England woodland grants, Catchment Sensitive Farming or other schemes.
• Experimental measures implemented by other R&D projects.

2. Identify a suite of the most efficient and effective measures to reduce diffuse water pollution to levels that are acceptable whilst ensuring productive and competitive farming. This includes identification of the level of intervention needed and appropriate locations for measures.
3. Determine the direct and indirect cost of these measures, including implementation, cost impact on production and savings due to more effective resource management.
4. Assess the lifespan and maintenance requirements of measures.
5. Working with Component 3 assess the attitudes of farmers towards acceptance of different measures.
6. Integrate and compare the data and insights from Objectives 2-5 on a cross-consortia basis.
7. Provide a preliminary assessment of the impact of evaluated measures on the profitability and productivity of farming systems across England and Wales.
8. Provide evidence to Defra and the Environment Agency on a regular basis to help inform policy development regarding CAP negotiations, WFD revisions and other activities related to diffuse pollution mitigation.
9. Provide national guidance on applying individual and combination of measures to tackle diffuse agricultural water pollution at the catchment scale.

Achievement of Objectives 2-5 is crucial for the successful accomplishment of Objectives 6-9. Some contractors will have more involvement in objectives 2-5 than the latter ones, but all recognise the need for extensive collaboration and team working if the overall project is to be successful.

Project Documents
• ROAME Document : WQ01: Minimising the adverse impacts of UK agriculture on water quality.   (200k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2012

To: 2017

Cost: £1,134,485
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Rothamsted Research (BBSRC), Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), Lancaster University , University of East Anglia (UEA), Newcastle University
Sustainable Farming and Food Science              
Water Pollution              
Water Quality              
Water Quality and Use