Anglo-Welsh anti-eutrophication plan published

Agency seeks pollution cuts through joint action with key industry sectors, catchment planning

The Anglo-Welsh environment agency yesterday published a strategy for tackling eutrophication of freshwaters, admitting that many sources of nutrient discharges were beyond its direct control. Putting the main emphasis on controlling phosphorus, it said it would therefore seek to achieve discharge reductions by working jointly with specific industries and by establishing catchment-based eutrophication control action plans for regions where diffuse sources were most important.

Included in the strategy are outline timetables for opening discussions with the main industries that discharge nutrients. Key sectors are the water industry, the phosphate and soap and detergent industries, the food processing industry and the agricultural sector.

For the water industry, the agency says it will continue to decide whether to require nutrient reduction at sewage treatment works on a case-by-case basis. It argues against nutrient removal at all treatment works due to the environmental impact of increasing sludge production.

The potential for recycling phosphorus from sewage sludge and livestock wastes will be one of the agency's most important areas of discussion with the soap and detergent industry. It believes that implementation of the EU integrated pollution prevention and control directive should help to cut emissions from the food processing industry.

Reform of the EU's common agricultural policy "holds perhaps the greatest chance of ensuring widespread adoption of good practice" in agriculture, says the agency. It commits to further promoting an existing code of good practice and to consider the need for additional guidance for farmers.

Follow Up:
Anglo-Welsh environment agency, tel: +44 1772 339 882. See also the strategy: Managing Aquatic Eutrophication.

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