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James Hutton Institute
Andy is a principal catchment scientist at the James Hutton Institute, with over 20 years background in applied research in soil and water management. His core interest is in the resolution of catchment scale water quality issues, mainly relating to agricultural diffuse pollution. Although a bio-physical scientist by training, because of his interest in linking environmental processes with economics and behavioural science, he worked for 5 years in the Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences Group (SEGS). He has recently moved to Environmental and Biochemical Sciences group and now manages an inter-disciplinary project - Payments for Ecosystem Services: Lessons. The objective is to build understanding of what incentives or arrangements could be considered appropriate and effective in enabling and encouraging stakeholders to adopt measures that will improve water quality and/or manage water levels and flows. We will support the planning, development, implementation and appraisal of measures and mechanisms to improve water management in selected catchments. The work will if possible help enable the adoption of some of these measures, thus giving an opportunity to understand how new arrangements actually play out in practice and to monitor their impact.
Andy has worked on modelling and measurement of the transport of pollutants (nitrates, phosphates, micro-organisms, pesticides etc.), for many years and contributed to the growing appreciation of the role that agricultural activities play in contributing to bathing water pollution issues in SW Scotland. Recent work includes assessment of cost effectiveness and proportionality of diffuse pollutant mitigation measures. This has shown support for SEPA’s targets for restoration of standing waters to Good Ecological Status, but demonstrates that for many lochs where mitigation is likely to be costly, costs can exceed society’s willingness to pay.He has also sought to identify the responses of stream benthic microbial communities to aquatic pollution using molecular methods, and carried out modelling on the risk of microbial pollution from livestock influencing human health through bathing water and drinking water pollution; A recent interest is in the development of a new technique, filter fences, for erosion control in the aftermath of potatoes.
On-going and recent projects
- Manager of Scottish Government Funded research work package on Effectiveness of measures to manage water quality and control diffuse water pollution
- Manager of Scottish Government funded research work package on management to enhance water quality
- Pantanal International Network/Leverhulme Trust
- Sub-contractor for Scottish Government project on Development of indicators of the impact of SRDP measures on water quality