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Oliver D.M.,University of Stirling | van Niekerk M.,University of Stirling | Kay D.,Aberystwyth University | Heathwaite A.L.,Lancaster University | And 18 more authors.
Environment International | Year: 2014

The debate over the suitability of molecular biological methods for the enumeration of regulatory microbial parameters (e.g. Faecal Indicator Organisms [FIOs]) in bathing waters versus the use of traditional culture-based methods is of current interest to regulators and the science community. Culture-based methods require a 24-48. hour turn-around time from receipt at the laboratory to reporting, whilst quantitative molecular tools provide a more rapid assay (approximately 2-3. h). Traditional culturing methods are therefore often viewed as slow and 'out-dated', although they still deliver an internationally 'accepted' evidence-base. In contrast, molecular tools have the potential for rapid analysis and their operational utility and associated limitations and uncertainties should be assessed in light of their use for regulatory monitoring. Here we report on the recommendations from a series of international workshops, chaired by a UK Working Group (WG) comprised of scientists, regulators, policy makers and other stakeholders, which explored and interrogated both molecular (principally quantitative polymerase chain reaction [qPCR]) and culture-based tools for FIO monitoring under the European Bathing Water Directive. Through detailed analysis of policy implications, regulatory barriers, stakeholder engagement, and the needs of the end-user, the WG identified a series of key concerns that require critical appraisal before a potential shift from culture-based approaches to the employment of molecular biological methods for bathing water regulation could be justified. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. Source

A qualitative risk assessment was undertaken to analyse the likelihood of the incursion of selected exotic infectious disease into England's small populations of feral boar and the potential impacts these animals could have on effective disease control. In order to identify the exposure pathways, it was necessary to consider not only the epidemiology of the pathogens but also to understand how the ecology and behaviour of wild boar would affect disease transmission. It was concluded that the greatest risks of exotic disease incursion into the UK were associated with disease entering through the consumption of infected pork meat or meat products by either wild boar or domestic swine and thus the diseases of highest risk are classic swine fever, foot and mouth disease and Trichinella sp. It should be noted that much of the peer review publications used as the scientific evidence base for this assessment describes disease outbreaks in boar populations in countries which have the disease endemically or have been previously exposed to the disease. In the UK, disease may act differently as the UK population of boar will be naïve to the exotic notifiable diseases. © 2009 Springer-Verlag. Source

Gosling J.P.,University of Leeds | Hart A.,UK Environment Agency | Mouat D.C.,Nobel House | Sabirovic M.,Nobel House | And 2 more authors.
Risk Analysis | Year: 2012

Since the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak of 2001 in the United Kingdom, there has been debate about the sharing, between government and industry, both the costs of livestock disease outbreaks and responsibility for the decisions that give rise to them. As part of a consultation into the formation of a new body to manage livestock diseases, government veterinarians and economists produced estimates of the average annual costs for a number of exotic infectious diseases. In this article, we demonstrate how the government experts were helped to quantify their uncertainties about the cost estimates using formal expert elicitation techniques. This has enabled the decisionmakers to have a greater appreciation of government experts' uncertainty in this policy area. © 2011 Society for Risk Analysis. Source

Oliver D.M.,University of Stirling | Hanley N.D.,University of St. Andrews | van Niekerk M.,University of Stirling | Kay D.,Aberystwyth University | And 23 more authors.
Ambio | Year: 2016

The use of molecular tools, principally qPCR, versus traditional culture-based methods for quantifying microbial parameters (e.g., Fecal Indicator Organisms) in bathing waters generates considerable ongoing debate at the science–policy interface. Advances in science have allowed the development and application of molecular biological methods for rapid (~2 h) quantification of microbial pollution in bathing and recreational waters. In contrast, culture-based methods can take between 18 and 96 h for sample processing. Thus, molecular tools offer an opportunity to provide a more meaningful statement of microbial risk to water-users by providing near-real-time information enabling potentially more informed decision-making with regard to water-based activities. However, complementary studies concerning the potential costs and benefits of adopting rapid methods as a regulatory tool are in short supply. We report on findings from an international Working Group that examined the breadth of social impacts, challenges, and research opportunities associated with the application of molecular tools to bathing water regulations. © 2015, The Author(s). Source

Webb J.,Ricardo PLC | Jephcote C.,Ricardo PLC | Fraser A.,Ricardo PLC | Wiltshire J.,Ricardo PLC | And 4 more authors.
Soil Use and Management | Year: 2016

UK emissions of sulphur dioxide decreased by 94% between 1970 and 2010 and are projected to decrease by another 50% by 2020 as coal fired power stations are decommissioned. We used the Community Multiscale Air Quality model to create maps of sulphur (S) deposition to assess the impact of these forecast decreases in S emissions on net S deposition to crops in England and Wales. Currently, average S deposition, net of S leaching, varies little between the UK regions, being greatest in Yorkshire and Humberside (Y&H), at ca. 5-6 kg/ha S, and least in Wales, at ca. 3-4 kg/ha S. However, even in Y&H S deposition is no more than 25% of S uptake by cereals and only ca. 10% of S uptake by oilseed rape (OSR). By 2020, net S deposition is predicted to decrease by between 30 and 60% and will be no more than 15% of S uptake by cereal crops and <10% of S uptake by OSR. We conclude that, with the exception of a few localities, net S deposition is currently making only a minor contribution to crop S requirements and this small contribution will continue to decline. We recommend S be applied at the rates currently advised, as either mineral fertilizer or livestock manures (or a combination of both), to all crops and grass grown on sandy soils or in areas of >375-mm overwinter rainfall. The need for S fertilizer appears to be greatest for grass swards cut more than once. © 2016 British Society of Soil Science. Source

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