Using industrial by-products (IBPs) in conjunction with buffer strips provides a potentially new strategy for enhancing soluble phosphorus (P) removal from agricultural runoff. Here, we investigate the feasibility of this approach by assessing the P sorption properties of IBPs at different solution-IBPs contact time (1–120 min) and solution pH (3, 5.5, 7.5), as well as possible adverse environmental effects including P desorption or heavy metal mobilisation from IBPs. Batch experiments were carried out on two widely available IBPs in the UK that demonstrated high P sorption capacity but different physicochemical characteristics, specifically ochre and Aluminium (Al) based water treatment residuals (Al-WTR). A series of kinetic sorption–desorption experiments alongside kinetic modelling were used to understand the rate and the mechanisms of P removal across a range of reaction times. The results of the kinetic experiments indicated that P was initially sorbed rapidly to both ochre and Al-WTR, followed by a second phase characterised by a slower sorption rate. The excellent fits of kinetic sorption data to a pseudo-second order model for both materials suggested surface chemisorption as the rate-controlling mechanism. Neither ochre nor Al-WTR released substantial quantities of either P or heavy metals into solution, suggesting that they could be applied to buffer strip soils at recommended rates (≤30 g kg−1 soil) without adverse environmental impact. Although the rate of P sorption by freshly-generated Al-WTR applied to buffer strips reduced following air-drying, this would not limit its practical application to buffer strips in the field if adequate contact time with runoff was provided.