Catchment operation: Cheshire Hub
Several organisations have responsibilities in the operation of catchments, however resources are not always focused on understanding what is going on in the whole catchment area. Activity is often delivered in isolation and without a joined-up approach, meaning interventions are not targeted in the right areas for the greatest benefit and better environmental outcomes.
Previous work by Natural Course involved the creation of the Cheshire Hub – a centralised group with representatives from the Environment Agency, United Utilities and Natural England, who started to address barriers presented in catchment management. Steps were taken to carry out catchment sampling and to understand the needs of the whole catchment. There were challenges – there is a need to drive operational changes within organisations, address shared funding opportunities and identify areas of further collaboration.
What we are doing:
Applying what we have learned, we will progress the Cheshire Hub to take a more targeted approach and develop delivery plans for strategic initiatives. It will influence operational resource to initiate action and demonstrate collaboration on specific areas of interest that could be scaled up across Cheshire. Activity will be themed around agricultural evidence, analysis and communication, mere water quality improvements and water safeguard zones. Opportunities within the Bollin catchment will also be looked at, along with understanding crossover with SuDS and flood risk, and water quality.
Data collection in the catchments will be improved, and new ways of collection will be trialled to help manage the catchment collaboratively. By organisations working together the understanding of policy conflicts will be improved, which will help to reduce barriers to improved delivery.
Who else is involved?
United Utilities, Environment Agency, Natural England, the Rivers Trust, local CaBA hosts and other partners for specific activity.