Category: December

Welland Valley Partnership meeting- 15/12/2017

Location: Waterside Garden Centre Conference Room, King Street, Baston, Peterborough. PE6 9NY 

 

Attendees:                                                                

 

  1. Matthew Bills
  2. Geoff Gilfillan
  3. Amanda Jenkins
  4. Peter Barham
  5. Georgina Wallis
  6. Richard Spiers
  7. Chris Stoate
  8. Simon Bonney
  9. Mark Tarttelin

Agenda: 

10.00               Welcome

10:10               Actions from previous meeting: Peter Barham

10.25               WRT PO report: Geoff Gilfillan

10.40               Individual Partner Updates

11.30               Environment Agency funding changes: Simon Bonney

12.15               AOB

13:30               Site Visit of the River Glen Enhancement Project

Amandariver

Next meeting: 23rd February: The Allerton Project, Loddington Visitor Centre, Main Street, Loddington, Leicestershire, LE7 9XE

 

Outcomes of meeting:

Thank you to all the Partnership members for their attendance, and for the Waterside Garden Centre for hosting this partnership meeting. This partnership meeting was particularly informative regarding the new funding rules and regulations from the Environment Agency, as these changes will have a large impact on the partnership’s future funding. I believe we also all thoroughly enjoyed the site visit of the River Glen Enhancement Project in Bourne.

Catchment Sensitive Farming Update by Georgina Wallis

csf pic

2017 has been a turbulent year for farmers and advisers alike. With volatile markets and BREXIT on the horizon there is a lot of uncertainty within the industry at the moment. Regardless, a good number of farmers across the catchment are engaging with the Catchment Sensitive Farming Project, which has been actively working with farmers across the Welland catchment to deliver advice on a range of topics, including Countryside Stewardship, pesticide handling, farm infrastructure and many more subjects. There have also been a number of events for farmers, including a Grassland Management event and a Cross Compliance update, both of which have been well attended by the local farming community.

2018 promises to be as much of a year of change. We hope to continue to provide practical guidance to farmers throughout the catchment and run a series of workshops and events to keep farmers up to date with any changing policy and practices.

Details on the New Farming Rules for Water have been released this month. From 2 April 2018, all farmers in England must meet some new rules to protect water quality. These rules are about standardising good farm practices that many will already be performing and offering a new approach to regulation. Farmers will be able to use the knowledge of what is best for their land, for example by deciding when it is safe to spread fertilisers.  The new farming rules are aligned with Basic Payment Scheme cross compliance rules to simplify the requirements for farmers already familiar with these rules. Farmers already meeting GAEC 4 (minimum soil cover) and GAEC 5 (minimise soil erosion) rules should comply with the new rules for soils. Guidance on this can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/farming-rules-for-water-from-april-2018.

The Countryside Stewardship Scheme, originally launched in 2015, is also set to change for 2018. The scheme is being simplified with four new, simpler packages being made available to farmers: Lowland Grazing, Online Arable, Mixed Farming and an Upland Offer. Farmers will only need to select a small number of core options (minimum of 2 or 3) from between 7 and 14 options to secure a 5-year agreement. The Arable package will be piloted as an online only application form and should be very quick to complete.

The Hedgerow and Boundaries Grant Scheme which allows farmers to use small capital options to improve farmland hedges, will be open again from 15th January 2018 and will close on 30th April 2018. Ensure you read the small print of the guidance – applicants for the lowland grazing, mixed and uplands packages will not be able to apply for the Hedgerows and Boundaries capital grants as well BUT the online arable package applicants can. Don’t get tripped up.

For further information on Catchment Sensitive Farming and what is available, the new Farming Rules for Water or the new schemes becoming available, please contact Georgina Wallis, Catchment Sensitive Farming Officer on 07921 941734.

Successful Funding Application!!!

We are pleased to announce that the Welland Rivers Trust, and the Market Harborough Environment Group have successfully raised funding to buy river clean-up equipment to remove rubbish and plastic from the River Welland.

Thanks to the Market Harborough Building Society, we will be able to buy equipment worth £464.34. Through this funding, we can continue in our efforts to clean up the River Welland as it flows through Market Harborough.

boom

Stonton Brook Macroinvertebrate Survey 2016/17

Over the last two years, the Environment Agency’s Ecology Team have be surveying and analysing the macroinvertebrate communities across the Stonton Brook catchment within the wider Welland catchment.

The Stonton Brook catchment was surveyed at eight sites in order to assess the current condition of the system. The survey consisted of the collection and analysis of macroinvertebrate community samples. Macroinvertebrates are widely used as indicators of the condition of the aquatic environment and a considerable number of tools have been developed to enable the use of macroinvertebrate community data in the assessment of many features of aquatic habitats.

Summary:

  • In comparison to the spring 2016 data, the most recent data indicates that water quality, flow condition and fine sediment in the lower reaches of Stonton Brook (e.g. U/S Thorpe Langton STW and Thorpe Langton sites) are all starting to improve.
  • Fine sediment pressure also seems to be easing on the Tugby trib. of Stonton Brook, and this appears to be helping the situation at Goadby, but there is still lots of room to improve.
  • Skeffington STW and Tugby STW appear to still be greatly affecting water quality in terms of organic enrichment, Tugby STW getting slightly better but Skeffington STW showing no particular improvement.
  • D/S Skeffington STW has started to indicate a slight flow pressure, though is more likely a result of the water quality issue.
  • The Glooston Arm at Stonton Wyville remains a particular concern for both fine sediment (0.00 for PSI is, unfortunately, correct) and flow conditions
  • Flow conditions remain broadly similar in 2017 to those in 2016 with an improvement in flow conditions at the Goadby site, which indicated a low flow pressure in 2016.

You can read the reports produced by the survey by clinking the links below:

Stonton Brook Spring 2016

Stonton Brook Spring 2017a

LIFE Spring 2017

PSI Spring 2017

WHPT Spring 2017

Sites

Community Tree Planting- 09/12/2017

Tree line
Trees in a line

Planting trees near a river is beneficial for both the people and wildlife who rely on the river.

For the wildlife living within and alongside the river, the trees will grow to create shade for the water, which will lower water temperatures in the summer months and increase dissolved oxygen in the water. This in turn will create better habitat for freshwater biodiversity. In addition, the trees will also grow to create riparian habitat for birds and mammals, including otters and kingfishers.

For land owners next to the river, and people who rely on the river, planting trees can bring about a range of different benefits, from life-saving shelter for livestock, combatting soil erosion, warming the soil to extend the growing season, and slowing surface water run-off to reduce flood risk. The trees will also provide habitat for game birds, attract vital pollinators, and provide an extra income through wood-fuel.

In addition, riverine tree planting presents a fantastic opportunity for the Welland Rivers Trust to work with local community groups, and to get people engaged in the conservation of their rivers.

On December 9th, the Welland Rivers Trust ran the first of several planned community tree planting events for the River Welland.

On a chilly Saturday morning, around 20 community volunteers helped to plant 50 tree saplings. The volunteers were mostly based in the Bringhurst and Great Easton villages, and included both young and old. The trees were of native British species that were appropriate to thrive in the wet soils of a river bank (e.g. English oak, Aspen, Alder).

The plating took place near Harringworth, and over-looked fantastic scenes by the famous Viaduct. Afterwards, the whole group adjourned to the local pub for some well-earned refreshments and good company.

Please look out for future tree planting days that the Welland Rivers Trust will be running in the New Year. Thank you.

Community Planters
Community Planters
Community Planters
Community Planters

Welland Resource Protection Group meeting- 07/12/2017

The Welland Rivers Trust recently engaged in the Welland Resource Protection Group meeting at Loddington, hosted by the GWCT. In attendance were representatives from GWCT’s Allerton Project (Prof. Chris Stoate), the Environment Agency, Anglian Water and the National Farmers Union. Topics for discussion included the new rules and regulations for farmers regarding freshwater impacts, the latest research into agro-environmental advancements by the Allerton Project, and the Environment Agency’s recent macroinvertebrate survey of the Stonton Brook region of the Welland (more information on this survey to follow soon).

To read more about the new freshwater regulations for farmers coming into effect in April 2018, follow this link: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-farming-rules-for-water

To find out more about the agro-environmental research being led by the GWCT’s Allerton Project (aiming to reduce the impact of farming on the environment, while maintaining and increasing food production and profit margins), check out their website: https://www.gwct.org.uk/allerton

Funding Submission- Tesco Bags of Help

Project Name: Improving Spalding’s Riverside

Working in collaboration with the Spalding RiverSide Forum Community Group, the Welland Rivers Trust have applied for £4,000 from the Tesco Bags of Help grant to fund the design and distribution of ‘Litter Picking Stations’ and educational sign boards along the river, where we are aiming to improve the River Welland in Spalding for both people and wildlife to enjoy.

The Litter Picking Stations will function to make it easier for the public to pick up litter every time they visit the river. The Stations will be A-Frame boards with integrated litter pickers and recyclable bags. Users will take a litter picker and a bag, fill it up with litter and dispose of the litter in nearby bins or recycling points. Litter pickers will be placed back into the holder ready for the next user.

The educational sign boards will aim to inform the public about the history of Spalding’s river, and how people can conserve this valuable resource into the future. The signed information will be specific to relevant sections of the river (e.g. local history near a historic site or duck feeding information near duck feeding sites).