Launch of New Research Partnership on Water Quality at AFBI

Launch of New Research Partnership on Water Quality at AFBI

The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute recently hosted the Launch Event for a major new Interreg VB research project which aims to develop sustainable systems to protect water quality from diffuse agricultural and mining pollution. AFBI is a major partner in this EU funded Interreg VB – Northern Periphery & Arctic project which has an overall value of approximately €2m. The project is led by the Savonia University of Applied Sciences in Finland and other partners include: the Finnish Geological Survey; the Agricultural University of Iceland; Luleå University of Technology Sweden; the Lough Neagh Partnership; Heriot Watt University in Scotland; Donegal County Council; and the Agricultural Agency of the Faroe Islands.

WaterPro PartnersThe Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute recently hosted the Launch Event for a major new Interreg VB research project which aims to develop sustainable systems to protect water quality from diffuse agricultural and mining pollution. AFBI is a major partner in this EU funded Interreg VB – Northern Periphery & Arctic project which has an overall value of approximately €2m. The project is led by the Savonia University of Applied Sciences in Finland and other partners include: the Finnish Geological Survey; the Agricultural University of Iceland; Luleå University of Technology Sweden; the Lough Neagh Partnership; Heriot Watt University in Scotland; Donegal County Council; and the Agricultural Agency of the Faroe Islands.

WaterPro site visit at AFBIAFBI’s contribution to the project will focus on the use of Short Rotation Coppice (SRC) willow to reduce nutrient export from agriculture.  SRC willow is a fast growing hardwood that takes up large volumes of water and can also utilise the nutrients found in runoff from agricultural sources.  If these nutrients enter lakes and rivers they can result in deterioration in water quality. In addition, SRC willow also provides farmers with an economically viable crop and sustainable source of biomass for energy production on-farm and elsewhere. This project aims to build on previous work carried out by AFBI on SRC willow (see www.afbini.gov.uk) by demonstrating the contribution that SRC willow can make to the sustainable intensification of agriculture in Northern Ireland by reducing nutrient export and lowering the carbon footprint while maintaining farm profitability.

AFBI Farm visit, WaterProFuture growth in the local agri-food sector as projected under the Going for Growth strategy increases the requirement for sustainable recycling and management of wastes. In addition, the EU Water Framework Directive sets stringent targets for water quality across the region. The use of SRC willow provides a solution that can help achieve these dual objectives.

For further details contact Chris Johnston (chris.johnston@afbini.gov.uk)

 

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