19 August 1997

Clean-up

rids loch of pollution

ONE of Scotlands best known freshwater lochs, Loch Leven, is the best demonstration of diffuse pollution control in the UK. Thats the view of a management group representing the local authority, the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, the Scottish Agricultural College, and Scottish Natural Heritage.

"We are developing a number of projects with local farmers and I have been very encouraged by their positive attitude.Their willingness to become involved can only be good for the future of the loch, its surroundings, and the local community," said management official Doug Flint.

Reduce phosphates

The group aims to reduce further the amount of phosphate entering the loch, a trout fishery of international repute, by creating or improving buffer strips, using irrigation ponds and establishing areas of grassland next to feeder streams.

Farmers within three miles of the watercourse are being encouraged to extend tree lines and provide hedging and stone dykes to create a barrier between streams and adjacent farmland.

"We are acting voluntarily to undertake environmentally-friendly measures," said Sandy Braid who has a 20-year-old irrigation pond which feeds into Loch Leven. The pond has just been cleaned, yielding 2000t of sediment.

Mr Braid grows vegetables on a large scale and is subject to tight quality controls from supermarkets. "There is sound commercial sense in adopting environmentally-friendly farming practices," he said.

Mr Braid is one of several farmers in the area taking part in the clean-up project after Loch Leven was declared a hazard to human health in 1992 because of toxic water conditions leading to the rapid growth of algal blooms.

Sandy Braid recognises "sound commercial sense in adopting environmental farming practices". He grows large-scale vegetables near Loch Leven.