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OS launches challenge to tackle coastal pollution

By Tim Wickham
24 January 2022

Southampton-headquartered Ordnance Survey has used its open innovation network hub, Geovation, to launch a challenge with the UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) aimed at finding a sustainable solution to tackle diffuse coastal pollution. A £5,000 prize is on offer for the winners.

Ordnance Survey, ranked 24th in The Business Magazine's 2021 edition of the Solent 250 listing, warned that diffuse coastal pollution causes significant damage to the UK’s 20,000 miles of coastal environment, including on human health and the food chain.

Sources of diffuse pollution can be very damaging to the environment due to the release of potential pollutants, for example, by agricultural run-off when pesticides and chemicals are lost from farming land into rivers, streams and ponds. Other causes include poorly plumbed drainage systems, untreated wastewater, septic tanks and flooding from sewers.

Successful applicants to the challenge will have access to data from Ordnance Survey, the UK Hydrographic Office, the Met Office and the British Geological Survey to find viable solutions to the coastline.

Carly Morris, Head of Geovation, said:

“The environmental impact of diffuse pollution is ever more apparent in the UK, and we hope that through the challenge we can get closer to finding sustainable solutions that can deliver change and make a positive impact on the future of our coasts.”

For more information Visit the Diffuse Coastal Pollution Challenge at