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Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 8th November 2011.

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Photo of Andrew Smith Andrew Smith Labour, Oxford East

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research her Department has commissioned on reducing the loss of phosphorus into watercourses and the sea; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of Richard Benyon Richard Benyon The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

DEFRA funds research on the loss of phosphorus and other pollutants into watercourses and the sea through the following research programmes:

Sustainable Water Management (Agriculture); and

Water Availability and Quality.

The Environment Agency also funds research on agricultural, urban other sources of phosphorus pollution.

This research broadly covers:

Identifying sources of phosphorus and other pollutants, and predicting pollution risk;

Understanding the movement of phosphorus in the environment;

Understanding environmental impacts;

Understanding the interaction between phosphorus and other pollutants; and

Developing cost-effective approaches to mitigating agricultural and other sources of pollution.

DEFRA has recently established three Demonstration Test Catchments to test approaches to the reduction of agricultural diffuse pollution and the improvement of ecological status in freshwaters, while maintaining economically viable food production.

Information and reports on the above mentioned projects can be found on the DEFRA and Environment Agency websites.

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