Water friendly farming initiative targets new catchments

Posted: Friday 28th November 2008

More areas around the country will benefit from help to tackle harmful water pollution, Environment Minister Jane Kennedy announced recently.

The England Catchment Sensitive Farming Delivery Initiative aims to help farmers to reduce diffuse water pollution from agricultural land through a range of advice and incentives.

The Initiative will expand its coverage from this month (October) with new target areas, including extensions of existing priority catchments and 10 new priority areas.

Environment Minister Jane Kennedy said:

“Taking care of our waterways through responsible farming practices isn’t just good for the natural environment – it is vital for the future of a sustainable, healthy farming industry. By extending the areas covered by this programme, we’ll be helping even more farmers and land managers to deal with local problems to improve the health of the entire catchment.”

The 10 new priority catchments which have been identified with the help of River Basin Liaison Panels are:

· Arun and Western Rother;

· Kent/Levens;

· Leadon;

· River Beult;

· River Blyth;

· River Esk;

· River Ribble;

· River Stour and Colne;

· Tern and Rodden; and

· Upper River Roding.

The existing priority catchments which are being extended to take in new areas are:

· Peak District Dales extension west to Tittesworth Reservoir & River Churnet;

· Extension of Till & English Tweed & coastal streams area to include Rivers Coquet & Aln;

· Waver & Wampool;

· South Hams;

· Axe & Otter;

· West Cornwall; and

· North Somerset Moors.

Helen Philips, Chief Executive of Natural England said:

"Healthy rivers and streams provide a huge range of benefits for people and wildlife. A healthy water environment relies on reducing pollution - not just on single sites, but across entire catchment areas. Natural England looks forward to the expansion of this Initiative, working with landowners to resolve local pollution problems that can improve water quality across much wider areas."

Paul Leinster, acting Chief Executive of the Environment Agency said:

“As part of our work on the Water Framework Directive we have identified where we can use catchment sensitive farming to deliver further benefits and help achieve a better water environment. We see advice and incentives as an important part of the mix of cost-effective measures that will encourage and enable farmers and land managers to deliver good environmental practice.”

The Initiative is also putting in place a new strategic partnership programme in two phases which aims to support engagement with t farmers , led and match-funded by national and regional partners including the Voluntary Initiative (pesticides). More information on these national and regional partnerships is available at (http://www.defra.gov.uk/farm/environment/water/csf/catchments/associate-projects.htm

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