Diffuse pollution takes many forms and affects both surface water and groundwater.
It can originate from a variety of activities from land use over a large area, for example agriculture, settlements, transport, and industry.
It is different from pollution that originates from one place, which is called point source pollution.
Activities that emit pollution into the atmosphere, ground or waterways may pollute sites far from the source. Controlling diffuse pollution will therefore benefit a large numbers of activities and people.
As well as affecting water quality, diffuse pollution has detrimental ecological effects and can affect the abundance and distribution of plants and animals profoundly change the characteristics of ecosystems including fish.
- Our initial analysis of pressures suggests that diffuse pollution, especially from agricultural nutrients, will make it very difficult for the UK to achieve the Water Framework Directive's (WFD) objectives.
- A wide range of activities in both rural and urban areas can cause diffuse pollution.
- We will work with others to identify and implement measures to prevent and control diffuse pollution.
- Diffuse pollution and the Water Framework Directive briefing note (PDF, 109KB)
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