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Benefits & Pollution Swapping: Cross-Cutting issues for CSF Policy - WT0706CSF

Description
Defra’s Water Quality Division (Catchment Sensitive Farming Team) is working towards identifying practical on-farm methods for mitigating diffuse water pollution from agriculture (DWPA). Amongst other activities, this has involved commissioning a review by IGER and ADAS of diffuse pollution losses from different farming systems (‘Diffuse Pollution Inventory’: Haygarth et al., 2005). This inventory described the impacts of contaminants on water, the loss processes from land to water, the impacts of different farming sectors on losses, potential mitigation methods and any policy drivers for implementation of these measures. The report covered nitrate (NO3), ammonium (NH4), nitrite (NO2), phosphorus (P), sediment, faecal indicator organisms (FIOs) and biological oxygen demand (BOD). The inventory was essentially a synthesis of previous Defra-funded research, and it has helped to support policy development within the CSF Group.

Following this, Defra commissioned IGER and ADAS to produce a summary of key farming activities which will need to be targeted in order to tackle DWPA in the context of Water Framework Directive (WFD) and identified various mitigation measures that could be used . Using the outputs from this work Defra has identified policy instruments where DWPA mitigation measures are not encouraged (e.g. NVZ don’t directly effect P transfer). Having identified these policy gaps, Defra has since been looking at a wide range of options which could be used to increase the uptake of DWPA mitigation measures and close the gaps. These options have included the extension of existing Defra policies as well as the development of brand new approaches for tackling DWPA.

For each potential package of policy options, a cost-effectiveness analysis is being taken forward for nitrate, phosphorus and FIOs by IGER and ADAS (Defra project ES0203). This is carrying out a multi-step analysis to:
• compare the costs of each mitigation measure with its potential to reduce diffuse pollution
• compare the cost of combinations of mitigation measures which represent various policy options
• compare costs of a combination (package) of policy options

In order to provide as accurate an assessment as possible, and to allow individual packages of options to be compared, these assessments must be as comprehensive as possible. Therefore, it is essential to measure the benefits of each package of policy options by accounting fully for their primary environmental impacts as well as for their probable secondary impacts. The secondary impacts will generally be positive, but where ‘pollution-swapping’ is an issue this needs to be considered and analysed. This will ensure that (a) the cost-effectiveness ratio is accurate and (b) the policy is designed so as to maximise positive and minimise negative impacts. This issue affects several policy areas besides CSF, in particular air quality, climate change and biodiversity.

The aim of the proposed project is to determine the impacts on the environment, and thus benefits, of potential CSF packages of policy options . The analysis will cover both primary (water quality) and secondary (including air quality, climate change and biodiversity and others as appropriate) environmental impacts. This work will allow Defra to ensure that any decisions on CSF policies are consistent with other environmental policies, and that the full costs and benefits of packages of policy options are accounted for.

This work is to be conducted in tight time constraints to meet policy deadlines for Defra and is therefore to be interpeted as a policy guide in the short term and must be interpreted in context with other emerging and complementing studies such as COST DP (Defra prokect ES0121) and Diffuse Pollution Inventory II (Defra project ES0203), and other associated projects.
Objective
This project will determine the impacts on the environment, and thus benefits, of potential CSF packages of policy options, which will be provided by Defra following analysis of their cost-effectiveness by IGER/ADAS (Defra project ES0203, available from November 2005). The analysis will cover both primary (water quality) and secondary (including air quality, climate change and biodiversity and others as appropriate) environmental impacts. This work will allow Defra to ensure that any decisions on CSF policies are consistent with other environmental policies, and that the full costs and benefits of packages of policy options are accounted for. The four, but interlinked objectives to be addressed are to;

1. Review current literature on the physical and economic impacts of farming practices on the environment.
2. Identify the potential for ‘pollution swapping’ as a result of packages of policy options.
3. Assess the relationship between the costs of farming practices to reduce DWPA and the economic value of their impacts on the environment.
4. Identify any uncertainties and gaps and recommend, where appropriate, future R&D requirements.

Milestones:

Milestone 1 - 27/01/2006
Agreement of methodology with Defra and meeting with Defra

Milestone 2 - 24/03/2006
Completion of literature review

Milestone 3 - 30/06/2006
First draft of methodology for estimating secondary impacts and benefit
values and meeting with Defra if required

Milestone 4 - 25/09/2006
First draft of final report submitted to Defra meeting with defra

Milestone 5 - 27/10/2006 10
Final report submitted to Defra

Project Documents
• Final Report : Benefits and Pollution Swapping   (303k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2006

To: 2006

Cost: £104,605
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Institute of Grassland and Environment Research (IGER)
Keywords
Environmental Protection              
Nutrients              
Pollution              
Water Pollution              
Fields of Study
Water Quality