Our established Catchment Management Programme has been up and running since 2015 and have actively engaged with farmers and landowners to prevent pesticides, soil and fertiliser washing from fields into the rivers and aquifers we take water from.
Our established Catchment Management Programme has been up and running since 2015 and during that time we have actively engaged with farmers and landowners to prevent pesticides, soil and fertiliser washing from fields into the rivers and aquifers we take water from.
Since 2015 we have administered grants and incentives totalling just over £75,000 to help farmers and land managers deliver environmental outcomes in priority drinking water catchments.
In areas of land which have been identified as being at risk of raw water deterioration, our target is to successfully engage with farmers and landowners through uptake of one or more of the following:
- Farm site audit
- Water efficiency and advice package
- Training package (e.g. on pesticide application)
- Pesticide calibration test
- Take up a biodiversity package
- Involvement in crop trials/other trials to improve water quantity or quality
- Payment to use alternative pesticides/products
- Payments of Ecosystem Services
- Capital payments to improve farm infrastructure
- Other engagement measures developed within the planning period and agreed with the Environment Agency.
Although our performance in this new measure will not be fully assessed until 2024/25 with underperformance payments or outperformance rewards, we targeted working with farmers and landowners who manage a total of 2,843 hectares of land during 2020/21.
How have we performed?
During the 2020/21 period we outperformed this measure, working with landowners who manage a total of 2,858 hectares of land.
We were able to achieve this through recruiting more staff to work directly with landowners, developing new working practices such as remote working and online events while where possible, continuing with Covid-19 safe farm visits.
This engagement saw us deliver across a range of subjects including cover crop and maize trials, arable reversion and farm infrastructure improvements, all of which ultimately protect raw water quality by improving soil health and reducing pesticide use as well as sediment and nutrient losses.
We will build on this strong foundation during 2021/22 to continue working in line with programme targets.
You can find out more about our environmental work here.
The impact of Covid-19
By holding engagement events with famers and landowners online and continuing farm visits where possible in a Covid-19 safe way, we were able to ensure work towards this target continued throughout the 2020/21 period.