The Water Framework Directive (WFD) encourages active involvement during its implementation, although no specific participatory methods are suggested, whilst implementing the target-oriented Directive will require detailed agri-environmental data at catchment and farm level. The paper is a case study of the Danish AGWAplan project, which actively involved farmers in the selection of measures to reduce diffuse nutrient pollution at farm and catchment level, thereby providing an example of how active involvement might be operationalised. Active involvement has been identified as being of central importance to the success of the WFD. The project also entailed the accumulation of extensive agri-environmental data. The aim of the paper is to evaluate AGWAplan to establish the extent to which its expected objectives have been achieved and how, and to determine whether the project approach might facilitate WFD goals if implemented in forthcoming river basin management plans (RBMPs). AGWAplan resulted in advantageous outcomes, including win–win solutions to reduce nutrient leaching and greater acceptance of policy, although the original reduction targets where not fully reached. The paper concludes that actively involving farmers in a similar manner in RBMPs may make an important contribution to the implementation of the WFD, although caveats regarding its potential for transfer to other areas are identified.
Keywords: diffuse nutrient pollution, good agricultural practices, participation, water framework directive