​Expert Group on follow-up of national progress towards reaching BSAP nutrient reduction targets (HELCOM LOAD)

Note that as of September 2014 onwards, the functions of LOAD group are handled by Pressure group.

HELCOM LOAD was an expert body consisting of experts on pollution load compilation (PLC) of nutrients (water and air), European Monitoring and Evaluation Programme (EMEP) and the HELCOM LAND group. Further, the Baltic Nest Institute (BNI), other modellers and statisticians could be called to participate in relevant tasks.

Terms of Reference for the HELCOM LOAD[1]


1.      Evaluate the annual loads and country-wise reductions in nutrient loads and follow up of whether reduction targets are significantly met

  • Finalize the criteria for assessing "reaching the BSAP targets of a country"

  • Evaluate data quality and ensure necessary corrections and amendments on questionable or incomplete data

  • Assess the information provided by the Contracting Parties to determine whether they with significance are reaching their nutrient reduction targets defined in the BSAP

  • Consider and improve the trend analysis approach and the flow normalization procedures

  • Produce a technical report summarizing the above mentioned assessment

2.      Replace the role of the PLC Group, including tasks related to atmospheric loads[2]

  • Quantify and describe the waterborne discharges from point sources and losses from non-point pollution sources as well as the quantified natural background losses into inland surface waters (source oriented approach) within the catchment area of the Baltic Sea;

  • Quantify and describe the loads (from rivers, unmonitored and coastal areas as well as point sources) discharging directly to the Baltic Sea (load oriented approach);

  • Evaluate changes in the pollution load since 1994;

  • Explain to which extent changes are caused by human activi­ties or natural variations; and

  • Overall evaluate the significance of various water protection measures applied in the Baltic Sea catchment area to reduce the pollution load from land-based sources.

  • Propose procedures for improving data flow and data compilation procedures

  • Contribute to revision of the PLC water guidelines

  • Develop procedures for updating of already reported PLC data

3.      Consider linkages with and take advantage of reporting requirements under other international agreements[next meetings]
4.      Consider impacts of climate change on trends in nutrient inputs
5.     Initiate the development of a core set pressure indicator on nutrient load that can be used to assess the progress in implementing BSAP actions


For more information, contact:


Mr. Lars Svendsen
Danish Centre for Environment and Energy (NERI)
University of Aarhus
Vejlsoevej 25
DK-8600 Silkeborg, Denmark
Tel: +45 4587158795
Email: lms@dmu.dk  

HELCOM Secretariat
Professional Secretary
Mr. Mikhail Durkin
Phone: +358 46 850 9195
Fax: +358 (0)207 412 645



[1] The Terms of Reference were adopted by HELCOM HOD 29/2009 and amended by HELCOM HOD 34/2010 and HOD 35/2011 as proposed by HELCOM MONAS 12/2009, HELCOM MONAS 13/2010 and HELCOM MONAS 14/2011.
HELCOM HOD 35/2011 endorsed that HELCOM LOAD will work on the revision of the nutrient reduction targets and the updated nutrient reduction allocation scheme which will take into account also normalized atmospheric deposition and divided according to same principles as the waterborne inputs, following the polluter pays principle (cf. para 3.9, LD 16) [doc. 4/2]

[2] Concerning airborne inputs main issues for HELCOM LOAD are:

  • to quantify and describe air emissions and air deposition of primarily nitrogen compounds from different sources including how much of the emissions from different sources are deposited on the Baltic Sea sub-basins (a "blame" matrix").

  • to consider how to take into account transboundary and ship emissions when quantifying air deposition and in relation to revision of nutrient allocation scheme.

  • further, to evaluate changes in airborne inputs since 1995 and evaluate trends in deposition and evaluate significance of various measures to reduce air emission.