Nitrate pollution is down across the European Union showing new legislation is 'proving effective', according to the European Commission.
The commission believes new rules cracking down on the agricultural use of nitrates through improved fertiliser management in the Nitrates Directive is behind the fall.
Nitrate is commonly used in farming but is potentially hazardous to human health and can often pollute water near crops.
Between 2004 and 2007, nitrate concentrations in surface water, including rivers, lakes and canals, remained stable or fell at 70% of monitored sites.
However, according to the report 15% of groundwater monitoring stations and 3% of surface stations found nitrate concentrations above the water quality standard of 50 mg/l.
Particularly high concentrations on the pollution were found in surface waters in Malta, England, Belgium (Flanders) and France (Brittany).
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