UK progress on reducing nitrate pollution

Water drop
The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) today published its report on ‘UK progress on reducing nitrate pollution’. This reports highlights that high levels of nitrate in groundwater are a problem as they cause oxygen depletion which is harmful to humans and biodiversity.

Professor Rob Ward, Groundwater Science Director at the BGS, contributed evidence to the EAC on the problems associated with what has become known as the “nitrate time bomb”. This is a phenomenon caused by historic high applications of fertiliser that has not yet filtered through into groundwater aquifers in some parts of the UK because the geology, especially the Chalk and thick unsaturated zone, has slowed it down.

Professor Ward warned that in some areas it might take 60 years for levels of nitrate to peak and that in the worst-case scenario it might take a century.

Link to EAC report UK progress on reducing nitrate pollution

Link to the BGS web site for further information on Nitrate contamination in groundwater





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Published

22 November 2018