• Reducing Diffuse Pollution

    Image: Lynn Betts [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

    Scottish Environment Protection Agency | Catchment Wide



    The project aims to reduce rural diffuse pollution in the South Esk catchment in order to improve water quality, meet the requirements of the Water Framework Directive, and improve the habitat for freshwater pearl mussels.

    What changes and benefits can people expect to see in the catchment as a result?

    Measures such as buffer strips will reduce siltation and improve water quality. This will create a healthier river environment for freshwater pearl mussels and fish. Buffer strips also act as good wildlife corridors, improving the resilience of local biodiversity.

    How are you involving the local community?

    Landowners have been engaged through individual visits to farms. During these visits, landowners are provided with advice on how to modify their farming practices to reduce diffuse pollution impacts.

    How does your work link in with other activities in the catchment?

    This project works closely with the Pearls in Peril project to improve freshwater pearl mussel habitats. SEPA has also worked with the Esk Rivers and Fisheries Trust to identify land managers who are willing to allow morphological improvements to be carried out on their land.


    Sepa Images


    Time scale

    The project involves three phases:

    • Catchment walking (completed in 2010)

    • Onsite visits to farms in the operational area (completed in April 2012)

    • Revisits to farms to check compliance with diffuse pollution binding rules (ongoing)


    The work is funded directly by SEPA.

    How the works fits with local and national policy

    The EU Water Framework Directive is the main policy driver in the work SEPA is carrying out in the South Esk catchment.

    Additional information