Gooday, R.; Anthony, S.; Calrow, L.; Harris, D.; Skirvin, D.

Diffuse agricultural pollution to rivers in Scotland

Modelled predictions of annual pollutant loads in rivers from agricultural source areas for Scotland, reported at Water Framework Directive (WFD) catchment scale. The modelled pollutants include total phosphorous, nitrate (NO3-N), faecal indicator organisms (FIOs), suspended solids, methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) gas emissions. The agricultural source areas include arable land, improved grassland, rough grazing land and others (e.g. steadings, tracks and other non-field losses). Modelled predictions account for current (c. 2012) implementation of General Binding Rules, Nitrate Vulnerable Zone Action Programme and a number of SRDP options. The values specify pollutant losses in 10^6 colony forming units (cfu) per year for FIOs and kilograms per year for the other pollutants.

Publication date: 2017-02-16

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Licence

Format of the dataset : Comma-separated values (CSV)

You must cite: Gooday, R.; Anthony, S.; Calrow, L.; Harris, D.; Skirvin, D. (2017). Diffuse agricultural pollution to rivers in Scotland . NERC Environmental Information Data Centre.



Study area
Temporal extent
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Supplemental information

Other useful information regarding this dataset:

The WFD catchments are not published by SEPA yet however, it is SEPA's intention to add the WFD catchment dataset to its Environmental data page. In the meantime, the WFD catchment shapefile can be requested from SEPA using their 'contact us by email' form.

Provenance & quality

The methodology is based on [1], [2] and [3] who developed and proved a generic methodology for calculating the impacts of mitigation methods on the control of diffuse pollution. The methodology involves the derivation of a meta-model of export coefficients from the output of more detailed process based models (including NEAP-N, PSYCHIC, IPCC) applied to common descriptions of farm systems that are representative of typical practice. Simulations are carried out for every farm type on a 1 km2 grid across Scotland, using local soil and climate information, and then the results aggregated by WFD waterbody and scaled by data from the June Agricultural Census data for 2010. The impacts of mitigation methods, representing General Binding Rules and the Nitrate Vulnerable Zone Action Programme, were characterised based upon literature, modelling and expert review from the project steering group verification of the modelled pollutant loads was performed by comparison with measured data for 56 large catchments, where data had been recorded for the purpose of reporting to the Oslo-Paris Commission.

[1] Anthony, S., Turner, T., Roberts, A., Harris, D., Hawley, J., Collins, A., and Withers, P. (2008) Evaluating the extent of agricultural phosphorus losses across Wales. Defra project WT0743CSF, Final Report, ADAS UK Ltd, 281 pp.
[2] Anthony, S., Duethman, D., Gooday, R., Harris, D., Newell-Price, P., Chadwick, D. and Misselbrook, T. (2009) Quantitative Assessment of Scenarios for Managing Trade-Off between the Economic Performance of Agriculture and the Environment and Between Different Environmental Media. Final Report, Defra Project WQ0106 (Module 6), 95 pp.
[3] Anthony, S., Jones, I., Naden, P., Newell-Price, P, Jones, D., Taylor, R., Gooday, R., Hughes, G., Zhang, Y., Fawcett, L., Simpson, D., Turner, A., Fawcett, C., Turner, D., Murphy, J., Arnold, A., Blackburn, J., Duerdoth, C., Hawczak, A., Pretty, J., Scarlett, P., Laize, C., Douthwright, T., Lathwood, T., Jones, M., Peers, D., Kingston, H., Chauhan, M., Williams, D., Rollett, A., Roberts, J., Old, G., Roberts, C., Newman, J., Ingram, W., Harman, M., Wetherall, J. and Edwards-Jones, G. (2012) Contribution of the Welsh agri-environment schemes to the maintenance and improvement of soil and water quality, and to the mitigation of climate change. Welsh Government, Agri-Environment Monitoring and Technical Services Contract Lot 3: Soil, Water and Climate Change (Ecosystems), No. 183/2007/08, Final Report, 477 pp + Appendices.

Correspondence/contact details

Richard Gooday
Pendeford Business Park, Wobaston Road, Pendeford
West Midlands


Gooday, R.
Anthony, S.
Calrow, L.
Harris, D.
Skirvin, D.

Other contacts

Environmental Information Data Centre
NERC Environmental Information Data Centre


Spatial representation type
Tabular (text)


Topic categories
Environment , Farming
Agriculture Pollution
Environmental Monitoring Facilities