A study to review existing knowledge on background levels of contaminants in Scottish soils.
This report presents an overview of information on land quality in Scotland, carried out for the Environment Agency who are required, together with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, under the Environment Act (1995), to form an opinion on the state of pollution of the environment. The main objective of the study was to review existing knowledge on background levels of contaminants in Scottish soils (Environment Agency R&D reports P291, P292 & P294 review levels of contaminants in England, Wales and Northern Ireland respectively). This involved prior consideration of concepts and definitions regarding background levels. The various factors that control the variability in background levels at a range of scales from site-specific studies to national surveys were reviewed. The research was undertaken by extensive literature review and through consultation with Agency staff and external organisations, in order to identify a wide range of land quality information, including soil survey data, environmental monitoring data, research studies, and land use information. Particular emphasis was placed on identifying data sets representative of land quality at regional to national scales, rather than collating site-specific and local scale information.