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CREW Diffuse Pollution Management Project

Funding Body

Scottish Government Centre for Expertise for Waters (CREW)


Vinten, A., Oliver, D,, Martin-Ortega, J., Christen, B., Jackson-Blake, L and MacLeod, C

Project Objectives

The aims of the day were to update available data on the effectiveness of existing measures, to review strategies for assessing effectiveness and uptake of measures and to identify potential measures that could be supported in Scotland in the future.

Why relevant to improve implementation and uptake of water quality measures

The workshop allowed the group to debate issues that could maximise compliance opportunities and communication of win-win messages to farming communities. In particular the workshop focussed on trying to identify awareness raising options/engagement methods that would target farming communities who were less receptive to previous awareness raising campaigns. The workshops also helped to raise awareness of diffuse source pollution.


Two parallel workshops were held. Workshop A aimed to identify impact indicators for measures that affect water quality, with a focus on those funded by the Scottish Government Rural Priorities fund. Workshop B aimed to develop effective approaches to achieving compliance with diffuse pollution regulations, with a focus on the General Binding Rules through evaluating current approaches to farmer engagement. A field visit to the Lunan Diffuse Pollution Monitoring Catchment (DPMC) was arranged for the following day to familiarise stakeholders with a variety of regulatory, funded and voluntary measures going on in this catchment.

Key Results

Measures most regarded as cost-effective for improving water quality are (in this order):

  • Water margins for diffuse pollution, retention of winter stubbles, livestock tracks and gates and management of wetlands.
  • The capacity of the measures to provide multiple benefits is a key argument for their consideration.
  • Diffuse pollution needs to be integrated with other ecosystem services and the balance between them for food, energy and water security.
  • There seems to be a clear mind-set that it was often more beneficial to farming communities to wait a while and apply for future benefits rather than achieve multiple benefits in a single transaction.
  • Demonstration farms are very beneficial in cementing ideas about compliance, and in endorsement by a group community.
  • Farmer-to-farmer communication is very effective and can help convince older generation farmers to consider alternative approaches, especially if younger farmers are advocating changes in management.
  • Farmers prefer 1-on-1 advice (important that it’s the right person) but focus farms may be more useful for delivering key advice about practices. Thus a coupled 1-to-1 service and focus farm approach is considered appropriate
  • Increased communication with communities out with the priority catchments (demonstration events etc. within the priority catchments) to encourage participation of farming communities



Contact Information

Andy Vinten (

More Information

Project Information
Project Type: 
Active Project


Areas of Interest

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