Several organisation have responsibilities in the operation of catchments, however resources are not always focused on understanding what is going on in the whole catchment area. Operational interventions are often delivered in isolation without a joined up approach, with attention commonly focused on point sources of pollution (rather than looking at the whole catchment picture and targeting the right areas for the greatest benefit and better environmental outcomes).
What we are doing
Natural Course has enabled the development of the Cheshire Hub. The hub brings together key organisations and other partners to work collaboratively to identify operational issues, decide on the likely cause and to plan appropriate action.
Natural Course has specifically funded the leadership role of the Environment Agency Catchment Director, who ensures that the best action is taken to meet the objectives of all organisations in the most efficient way. Activities are then delivered jointly by partners.
Who else is involved?
The Environment Agency, United Utilities, Natural England, Mersey Rivers Trust, and Catchment Hosts.
Across the Cheshire Catchment, but with a deeper focus on Valley Brook, Northern Meres and River Gowy.
The Cheshire Hub is completing a Catchment Action Plan for Valley Brook (Crewe) – learnings will then be applied to Gowy and Northern Meres planning. (N.B. These locations have been selected as they represent a broad range of interests, including addressing urban and rural pollution issues, as well as SSSI sites). They have also agreed approaches to utilising Natural Capital within planning processes, initiated collective activity with Bollin Green / Blue Corridor group and delivered Sustainable Drainage Systems training to group members.
Working on farm plans that will detail how farm business can deliver nutrient reductions and other ecosystems services in an integrated way through a Natural Capital approach.
Trailing innovative technologies that deliver nutrient reductions from agriculture into water bodies – initial Reactive Media water quality testing completed, with a report on the results and lessons learned due at end of phase.