Diffuse pollution

Diffuse pollution occurs when urban and rural land-use activities release pollutants into the catchment area of a body of water. The sources of diffuse pollution can be individually minor but collectively significant, and are heavily affected by rainfall.

We work on the National Forest Estate and with a wide range of stakeholders to reduce diffuse pollution through good forestry practice and appropriate riparian planting. We also produce guidance for good water management practices for those who are involved in managing woodlands and forests.

We are currently producing guidance under the Forestry and Water Scotland Initiative to help reduce the risk of diffuse pollution. This initiative will oversee the production of a ‘Keep Your Distance’ vehicle sticker based on Forest and Water Guidelines buffer widths and an associated pocket guide detailing the do’s and don’ts with regards to reducing the risk of diffuse pollution. On publication of this material a link to the Forestry and Water Scotland website will be put here where the material will be free to download.

Diffuse pollution strategy and regulations

Managing water on harvesting sites

This film presents the water management measures you need to undertake on harvesting sites to reduce diffuse pollution:

Managing water on cultivation sites

This film presents the water management measures you need to undertake on cultivation sites to reduce diffuse pollution:

Riparian planting and acid sensitive catchments

It's important to know where riparian planting can be most effective in reducing diffuse pollution (ideally alongside the provision of other benefits such as mitigating flood risk, reducing thermal stress and supporting biodiversity).

We have worked with SEPA, SNH and others to write an acidification practice guide to support these guidelines:

Managing Forests in acid sensitive water catchments guidance cover imageManaging forests in acid sensitive water catchments (PDF 3.4MB)

This practice guide includes a step-by-step process to see if new planting, felling or restocking proposals could pose a risk to water bodies that are acidified (or at risk of becoming so).

This step-by-step process is supported by an interactive map showing catchments vulnerable to acidification.