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Developing a Method to Monitor the Rural Diffuse Pollution Plan: Providing a Framework for Interpreting Catchment Data

Image of cow on beach; Cover image courtesy of: Andrea Baggio

This report is in response to a request to develop a weight-of-evidence method to enable change in priority catchments to be recorded, understood, and interpreted in the context of catchment data. The report outlines the method for collecting and combining data to assess the effectiveness of the Rural Diffuse Pollution Plan that represents Scotland’s strategy to reduce water pollution caused by agricultural land use. The report also evaluates the efficacy of the method to monitor the progress of the strategy using data from selected priority catchments. Recommendations for improving the robustness of the weight of evidence approach are also provided. A parallel report using the same data valuates the suitability of the current water quality and ecological monitoring programme to provide reliable estimates of change.