In the UK, the Highways Agency is responsible for operating, maintaining and improving the strategic road network in England. One focus of the Highways Agency's ongoing research into the nature and impact of highway runoff is aimed at ensuring that the Highways Agency will meet the requirements of the EU Water Framework Directive. A research programme, undertaken in partnership with the Environment Agency, is in progress to develop a better understanding of pollutants in highway runoff and their ecological impact. The paper presents the outcome of a study to: (1) monitor pollutants in highway runoff under different climate and traffic conditions; (2) develop standards to assess potential ecological risks from soluble pollutants in highway runoff; and (3) develop a model to predict pollutant concentrations in highway runoff. The model has been embedded in a design tool incorporating risk assessment procedures and receiving water standards for soluble and insoluble pollutants—the latter has been developed elsewhere in another project within the research programme. The design tool will be used to support improved guidance on where, and to what level, treatment of runoff is required for highway designers to manage the risk of ecological impact from highway runoff.

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