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Publication

31st March 2022

Better Buffer Design, Placement and Management

Image of good and bad buffers

Can improved design concepts for riparian buffer measures and placement improve uptake and best practice in Scotland?

At this present time of developments in knowledge around diffuse pollution management, habitat restoration of river corridors and natural flood management, it is timely to make a synthesis of latest research with specific regard to understanding best practice in riparian zone management. So-called buffer zones alongside watercourses have potential to enhance ecosystem services in Scotland at a time of growing concerns for water quality, floods and droughts, bank-side habitat loss, condition of aquatic species and superimposed climate pressures. Yet, the majority of riparian management is basic and often mismatched to the specific needs and pressures of the site, for example not effectively targeting site-specific pollutant pathways by which runoff reaches watercourses. This CREW Policy Note examines how considering an enhanced range of designs, and targeting them to most suitable landscapes and pressures on the environment, can be achieved to improve multiple outcomes, including aspects of wider context for improving the uptake of enhanced riparian measures.