The entry of excessive amounts of nutrients and silt into aquatic ecosystems via diffuse pollution poses severe ecological risks. Nutrient enrichment by nitrates and phosphates is widespread in English surface waters and heavy siltation has been observed in many rivers and lakes. Many sites designated for nature conservation are being affected. It has been estimated that agriculture is responsible for around 43% of phosphorus entering UK receiving waters. Agriculture is also a major contributor to silt loads, via soil erosion.
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