A proactive part of our day-to-day operations is to work with landowners to help manage catchments in a more integrated way to improve the quality of the environment at a local level, in the face of challenges including local development and climate change.
With the UK’s departure from the EU, we were presented with a unique opportunity to co-design our agricultural polices alongside Defra to allow us to meet our environmental ambitions while supporting our farming sector.
The new Environmental Land Management (ELM) Scheme has been set up on the principle of ‘public money for public good’ and will form the cornerstone of national agricultural policy when the UK leaves the European Union.
With the new ELM scheme in place, a working group has been set up looking at Cuckmere and Pevensey Catchment to test and trial an innovative approach which includes the following objectives:
- Identify priorities for an Environmental Land Management Scheme in the catchment
- Identify and work with 20 local farmers to develop land management plans
- Consider how a locally led organisation like a Catchment Partnership, could deliver the ELM scheme
On behalf of the Catchment Partnership, we are working with Natural England and South East Rivers Trust on this series of test and trials to help us understand how the new scheme could work across a range of regions and sectors.
“This ELM approach is of particular interest to us and other water suppliers as it creates the opportunity to provide wider resilience in our catchments and opens up the door to nature-based solutions for areas such as carbon capture drought and flooding.” Simon Lohrey, Surface Water Manager
The Test and Trials project has been running since November 2019 and we’re working successfully towards our objectives and hope to able to report back on our findings in Spring 2021