In WP3, the trade-offs and synergies in impacts of best management practices (BMPs) on N and P fluxes, in the context of the targets set in the Farm to Fork strategy, and current water and climate policies, are examined. The possible pollution swapping impacts as a result of adopting BMPs to mitigate N and P fluxes will be assessed on a regional scale in NW using a uniform modelling approach.

Description of work

In this work package, the performance of selected BMP scenarios (from WP1) in the context of mitigating against N & P loads to the target values required to achieve safe ecological limits in the study catchment will be evaluated and modelled using the tools and methodologies identified in WP2. This evaluation will include an analysis of the tradeoffs and synergies in the modelled N and P load reductions relative to the impacts of BMPs on emissions to air and C sequestration in soils, and the likely impacts of climate change on BMP performance. Performance evaluations will be made in coordination with WP1, where feedback to the PSWG and case study stakeholders will lead to discussions about the barriers and levers in the modelled scenarios. The results from the modelling component in this WP will then feed back into WP4 and WP1.

Task 3.1 Development of a matrix of most relevant BMP scenarios. Lead: AFBI

This Task will develop an options matrix of BMP scenarios relevant to each study catchment, and collate an evidence base of their potential impacts on N and P emissions, including the effects and risks of pollution swapping and impacts on key indicators identified in WP2. In WP1, the PSWG and case study stakeholders will select this BMP matrix from a long list of potential BMPs compiled from the literature. 

Task 3.2 Review of the effects of climate change on potential BMP effectiveness. Lead: AFBI

In this task a review of literature studies on the impacts of climate change on effectiveness of the selected BMPs scenarios will be carried out, including impacts on: (i) the contribution of N and P fluxes to climate change, and on the carbon sink capacity of soils; (ii) the N and P life cycles in the environment; (iii) the short-term and long-term dynamics of P in the soil matrix, and its regional variation across the NW Europe region. An important focus of this task is to engage with stakeholders in the identification of the impacts of climate change on agricultural practices related to N and P management.

Task 3.3 Selection of BMP combinations required to achieve N and P load reduction targets. Lead: AFBI

Using the models from WP2 and the matrix of BMP scenarios selected in Task 3.1, the optimum combinations of BMPs that are required to achieve the N and P load reductions necessary to meet the ecological targets in each catchment (e.g. safe ecological limits whilst retaining agricultural productivity) will be assessed. This will be carried out using a set of catchment models which are specific to each catchment and will be based on the level of load reduction they predict. These models will have been previously applied using the expertise of the modellers working in each case study to calculate baseline loads of N and P to each catchment. One of the actions required in this Task will be to standardise the model outputs across all the case studies given that there will be a wide range of different model types in use across them.

Task 3.4 Analysis of pollution swapping, Lead: WR

This task will evaluate the potential for pollution swapping as a result of the BMP scenarios arising out of Task 3.1 using the MITERRA-Europe model. This model was developed to assess scenarios that evaluate mitigation policies and measures. MITERRA is a deterministic emission and nutrient flow model, which calculates greenhouse gas emissions, N emissions, N and P flows and soil organic carbon stock changes on annual basis. It requires input data on crop types and emission factors which can be supplied from the output of agricultural simulation models at a regional scale (NUTS2) or alternatively published (e.g. statistical summary) regional values can be used. The results of MITERRA are the modified annual N and P loadings to air and water which can then be fed back as input data to the case study models in Task 3.3.