Spatial life cycle impact assessment data for catchment scale acidification and eutrophication potentials

Published: 27 June 2022| Version 3 | DOI: 10.17632/wry3659sjw.3
Graham McAuliffe,


The dataset presented here represents raw and analysed data for a catchment scale life cycle assessment of arable and livestock farming in the UK. The general hypothesis was that implementing on-farm interventions would reduce impacts to water quality in the study site. Input data were collected via a large-scale survey of commercial farmers in the East of England and subsequently collated into two separate farm typologies (arable and livestock). Once the input data were collated into a life cycle inventory, acidification and eutrophication potentials were calculated for each typology, catchment, and a range of scenarios which explore both individual and combined mitigation strategies at the farm-level. Each intervention (or combination of interventions) were compared with baseline farming activities (i.e., production without any consideration of mitigation) to determine how optimised management could reduce impacts to water quality. The arable interventions considered were: AA (All interventions); AB (Fertiliser); AC (Water management); AD (Machinery); AE (Zero tillage); AF (Cover crop). The livestock interventions considered were: LA (All interventions); LB (Fertiliser); LC (Water management); LD (Machinery); LE (Livestock management). Whilst Farm ID numbers need to be anonymised to protect farmers' identities, 1-22 represent arable farm typologies in the study site whilst IDs 23 and 24 represent median and mean arable typologies; IDs 25-37, on the other hand, represent livestock farm typologies in the study site whilst IDs 38 and 39 represent median and mean livestock typologies. The data underpinning the relevant study demonstrates that managing farm-based machinery optimally can make notable differences (~10% improvement) to water quality in the study site. In addition to the impact assessment dataset, we present five farmer's responses to standardised survey, as well as proof of consent, as examples which allowed the generation of such a geographically wide analysis. Please note that there were hundreds more responses covering the entirety of England, but we are unable to provide them all due to confidentially and participant protection clauses.


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As outlined in 'Description' above, input data were collected through a large scale farm-level survey covering each waterbody catchment in the East of England (Hertfordshire). Inputs information included: farm area; fertiliser application (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium); and soil type. Soils across the region range from deep clay (Hanslope series), deep loam to clay (Batcombe, Hornbeam, Melford series) to loam over chalk (Swaffham Prior series). Once the input data was collated into a life cycle inventory, three impact assessments were used to calculate acidification and eutrophication potentials: ReCiPe; Centre for Environmental Management (CML); and Environmental Product Declarations (EPD).


Rothamsted at North Wyke


Spatial Analysis, Survey Research, Water Quality, Life Cycle Assessment, Eutrophication, Acidification