The Water Framework Directive (WFD) aims to deliver good ecological status (GES) for Europe’s waters. It prescribes the use of economic principles, such as derogation from GES on grounds of disproportionate costs of mitigation. This paper proposes an application of the proportionality principle to mitigation of phosphorus (P) pollution of 544 Scottish lochs at national and local water body scales. P loading estimates were derived from a national diffuse pollution screening tool. For 293 of these lochs (31% of the loch area), GES already occurred. Mitigation cost-effectiveness was assessed using combined mitigation cost curves for managed grassland, rough grazing, arable land, sewage and septic tank sources. These provided sufficient mitigation (92% of national P load) for GES to be achieved on another 31% of loch area at annualised cost of £2.09 m/y. Mitigation of the residual P loading preventing other lochs achieving GES was considered by using a “mop-up” cost of £200/kg P (assumed cost effectiveness of removal of P directly from lochs), leading to a total cost of £189 m/y. Lochs were ranked by mitigation costs per loch area to give a national scale marginal mitigation cost curve. A published choice experiment valuation of WFD targets for Scottish lochs was used to estimate marginal benefits at national scale and combined with the marginal cost curve. This gave proportionate costs of £5.7 m/y leading to GES in 72% of loch area. Using national mean marginal benefits with a scheme to estimate changes in individual loch value with P loading gave proportionate costs of £25.6 m/y leading to GES in 77% of loch area (491 lochs).
- Pollution mitigation
- Water Framework Directive