RESOURCE PROTECTION GROUP
Welcome to the web page of the Partnership’s Resource Protection Group. Here we provide information about the Group and what it is doing to help realise the Partnership’s vision:
The River Welland, from its source at Sibbertoft near Market Harborough, to the tidal limit at Spalding in Lincolnshire, including all its tributaries, will:
- Be cleaner and healthier.
- Support more fish, birds, and other wildlife.
- Meet the needs of drinking-water suppliers and business.
- Provide a more attractive amenity for people to enjoy.
- Be sensitively managed by everyone whose activities affect it.
- Continue to provide drainage and manage flood risk.
Click image to download
The Partnership’s Steering Group set up the ‘Resource Protection Group’ in October 2011 to ‘Review diffuse pollution in the catchment in view of the funding over the next 4 years and recommend areas, communities and issues to tackle’.
By ‘diffuse pollution’ we mean pollution which comes from several sources, including:
- Run-off from arable fields, grassland, farm tracks and farmyards.
- Discharges to watercourses from surface water drains serving highways, homes and industrial estates.
- Run-off from soakaways serving septic tanks.
We are concerned about several different types of pollutants:
- Sediment – visible in ‘muddy’ or ‘dirty’ water running off fields or roads.
- Nutrients – in particular phosphate from farmland and domestic wastewater.
- Pesticides – notably metaldehyde (in slug pellets) and cypermethrin (in sheep dip).
- Organic matter – any decaying matter which depletes oxygen levels in the water.
Some of the pollutants, such as sediment in muddy water and organic matter are visible, and we can readily spot where a problem needs to be tackled. Others, such as nitrate, phosphate and pesticides, are invisible; their presence in water can only be inferred by studying invertebrate communities in the watercourse, but confirmed only by analysing water samples.
We know, however, that these pollutants all damage our watercourses in various ways:
- Sediment clogs up river gravels, preventing fish from spawning and reducing the viability of their eggs; it may also increase the risk of flooding Soil particles also carry nutrients and pesticides into the water.
- High phosphate levels can cause excessive plant growth, so that watercourses become choked with algae, water flows fall, and oxygen levels are reduced.
- Pesticides reduce populations of shrimps (an important food source for fish) and create challenges for water companies in treating water for public supply.
The Resource Protection Group brings together local experts and organisations to tackle diffuse pollution in the Welland Valley. The current members are:
- Anglian Water plc
- Country Land and Business Association
- Environment Agency
- Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust
- National Farmers’ Union
- Natural England
- Welland Rivers Trust
- Welland Valley Partnership
The Group meets every two months. It reports back to the Welland Valley Partnership, which also meets regularly. The Group benefits from considerable help in kind and voluntary action from its members.
The minutes of the Group's meetings are all available on this web site. To view these, click here. If you have any queries regarding these please contact us via this
We are tackling diffuse pollution through several initiatives. So far, these include:
- Implementing a scheme to provide Partnership grants (up to 50% of total costs, including labour) for investments on farms to tackle diffuse pollution.
- Providing a series of Workshops for farmers and landowners to promote good practice in land and water management.
- Encouraging the owners of septic tanks to ensure that these are properly maintained and do not cause pollution.
- Encouraging households to switch to phosphate-free detergents for washing clothes and in automatic dishwashers.
- Raising awareness among land managers, land agents, agronomists and other advisers of the Partnership’s work and the support which it can provide.
How You Can Help
Everyone in the Welland Valley can help us to improve water quality. Here are just a few ideas:
- Contact us if you see any evidence of pollution in watercourses (e.g. very muddy water, dirty discharges from pipes or drains, sheens of oil, or dead fish).
- Switch to low-phosphate detergents for laundry and automatic dishwashers.
- Support any river clean-up days – or contact us to set up your own!
- Report sightings of interesting plants and animals in or near watercourses (e.g. water plants, orchids, kingfishers, otters, dragonflies).
- Contact us with ideas for how we can realise our Vision for the Welland Valley.
How Land Managers Can Help
If you are an arable and/or livestock farmer in the Welland Valley, please:
- Contact us to arrange a free, no-obligation farm visit to discuss how we may be able to help you with free soil tests, free advice or 50% Partnership grants.
- Read the case studies available on the Welland Rivers Trust web site which provide recent valuable examples of partnership working by land managers.
- Attend our workshops:
Manure Management: 6 November, Monckton Farm, Thorpe-by-Water. This workshop, new for 2013, will focus on good practice in managing manures. It will include an update on our support for tackling diffuse pollution. Please contact Barney Parker on 01636 676107 / 07788 293348 or by
Nutrient management: We are repeating the successful workshop held in 2012 on 22 November at Medbourne Old Village Hall. This will cover NVZ compliance, soil testing, the spreading of manures and fertilisers, and the 'Tried & Tested' Nutrient Management Planning system. It will include an update on our support for tackling diffuse pollution. Please contact Barney Parker on 01636 676107 / 07788 293348 or by
For further details on what these Workshops cover, please download the flyer for the November workshops here.
- Further workshops are planned for early 2014 on Arable weed management (focusing on blackgrass), Soil management (also including advice on constructed wetlands), and the Construction, use and management of biobeds. Please contact Barney Parker on 01636 676107 / 07788 293348 or by
to register an interest in attending any of these events.
- Breakfast meeting for farm advisers: Early in 2014 we will also be repeating this successful event. It will focus on current topical issues (e.g. OSR herbicides, blackgrass) and include an update on the work of the Partnership. Please contact Barney Parker on 01636 676107 / 07788 293348 or by email for details. Agronomists, land agents, other advisers and farmers will all be welcome.
If you are an agronomist, land agent, or farm adviser, please contact us to discuss how we can best help you to assist your clients in taking advantage of our support.
How Householders Can Help
If you own a septic tank or package treatment plant in the Welland Valley, please see our '10-point action plan'. Our leaflet provides summary advice on each of the following 10 key action points:
1. Get to know your septic tank
2. Find out how your tank works
3. Check all parts of your septic tank system regularly
4. Have your tank desludged and serviced regularly
5. Use low-phosphate detergents to keep your tank bacteria healthy
6. Avoid using bleach or disinfectants as they will damage your tank bacteria
7. Look out for any problems and act promptly
8. Make your tank fit for the future (e.g. renewing or replacing it)
9. Keep good records for your septic tank
10. Seek advice if you have any questions or problems
Points 5, 7 & 10 also apply if your home or business is connected to mains sewerage. Switching to phosphate-free detergents, for example, is something which anyone can do. The more people switch, the bigger the impact on phosphate levels in our watercourses.
How Businesses Can Help
If you manage a business site in the Welland Valley, please check that:
- You have an up-to-date drainage plan of your site.
- Surface water drains collect only clean water, such as roof drainage.
- All contaminated water and trade effluents go to foul drains.
- Storage containers for oils and other chemicals are fit for purpose, regularly inspected and maintained.
- Storage areas and containers are sited away from watercourses, surface water drains and unsurfaced areas.
- Storage containers are kept within a bund which will contain any leaks or spills.
- Procedures are in place for the safe delivery and handling of materials.
- Your storage and handling of waste is safe and complies with the law.
- You have a plan, equipment and training to deal with any pollution incident.
- You review your site regularly and when you change any infrastructure or working practices.
If you run a local business and are able to support our work in other ways, please get in touch. We are particularly looking for:
- Volunteer working parties to support clean-ups and habitat works.
- Financial sponsorship for our events and activities.
- Match-funding contributions for works to improve habitats and protect water quality.
An impressive example of what we can achieve by working with businesses was the volunteer day where 200 people worked to remove weed growth and fallen trees from the Stamford Mill Stream. Cummins Generator Technologies generously supplied food, drink, medical facilities, Portaloos, equipment and volunteers. Other volunteers included students from New College Stamford and members of staff from the engineering consultancy firm Royal Haskoning DHV.
We also very much welcome the active support of local authorities, including parish, district and county councils, in all these areas.
Septic Tank Action Plan
LOOKING AFTER SEPTIC TANKS: HELPING TO IMPROVE OUR RIVERS
The Welland Valley Partnership is working to improve water quality in the River Welland and all its tributaries. We are tackling different types of pollution (e.g. phosphate, sediment and pesticides) from many sources (including households, businesses, farmland and highways).
The several thousand septic tanks in the Valley together have a substantial impact on water quality. We are asking everyone with a septic tank to adopt our 10-point action plan. For further information, please download our leaflet below.
The leaflet, developed by our Resource Protection Group, brings together good practice advice from several different sources. We are promoting the leaflet widely - in particular through Parish Councils.
The 10 key points are:
- Get to know your septic tank
- Find out how your tank works
- Check all parts of your septic tank system regularly
- Have your tank desludged and serviced regularly
- Use low-phosphate detergents to keep your tank bacteria healthy
- Avoid using bleach or disinfectants as they will damage your tank bacteria
- Look out for any problems and act promptly
- Make your tank fit for the future (e.g. renewing or replacing it)
- Keep good records for your septic tank
- Seek advice if you have any questions or problems
We would welcome help from anyone who can:
Help us promote our message to householders (and businesses) which rely on septic tanks (e.g. local authorities, waste management businesses, farming organisations).
Provide (or sponsor) design and printing services so that we can print and circulate the leaflet in a more attractive and easy-to-use format.
Offer feedback on our leaflet and/or any other comments.
If you can help us in any way please contact our Project Officer, Liz Jameson, here or via
Protecting drinking water from metaldehyde
We are encouraging all farmers in the catchment to take particular care in using metaldehyde-based slug pellets this autumn. We need to limit as far as possible the amount of metaldehyde which runs off fields into the River Welland and its tributaries. High levels could cause a technical breach of the regulations governing drinking water quality. This poses significant practical problems for Anglian Water in maintaining compliant drinking water supplies from Rutland Water. While it may be possible to suspend the pumped abstraction from the Welland at Tinwell temporarily, natural flows into the reservoir from the Gwash cannot be interrupted.
The Metaldehyde Stewardship Group has published a helpful press release (click here to download) and a straightforward leaflet (click here to download) which provide further details. Three priority actions for farmers are:
- Use the minimum amount of active ingredient per hectare.
- Do not use metaldehyde when the drains are flowing and heavy rain is forecast.
- Stop using metaldehyde when the maximum 210g/ha limit is reached. This is the maximum single application, and also the maximum seasonal treatment level from August through to the end of December.
The Resource Protection Group is actively supporting farmers in implementing best practice in this area through advice, and held a successful workshop in September 2013 on slug pellets. For further information, please contact Barney Parker on 01636 676107 / 07788 293348 or by
RPG Meeting Notes
To download copies of all published RPG meeting notes - click here
RPG leaflets and event flyers
Two workshops - Manure and Nutrient planning - download here
This event flyer gives details of two FREE Workshops for Welland Valley land managers in November 2013: "Practical Manure Planning" on 6 November and "Nutrient Planning" on 22 November. Please contact Barney Parker (see the flyer) for further details.
'Resource Protection' leaflet - download here
This leaflet outlines the advice and financial support available from the Partnership to help land managers tackle diffuse pollution within priority areas of the catchment.
Get In Touch
Get in touch
We welcome any comments or suggestions to help take forward our partnership work to tackle diffuse pollution, working with individuals and communities across the Welland Valley.
For farm advice, Partnership grants and details of our Workshops, please contact:
- Chris Stoate (Welland Valley Trust): 07528 630473.
For any more general matters, please contact:
- Alan Woods (RPG Chairman): 07813 113235.
For information on the work of the Trust and the Partnership in general, please contact:
- Liz Jameson (Project Officer): 07710 592110.
Useful Links & Resources
Reports on research in the Welland Valley
The following Environment Agency assessments provide detailed information which we are using to inform and help prioritise our work to tackle diffuse pollution.
A Report on a study of the use of remote sensing data in the nearby Leam Catchment
This study illustrates how remotely-sensed data can be used to identify pollution risks. We are hoping to use similar approaches to help target our work cost-effectively on those 'hotspots' which pose the greatest potential risk to water quality - Click here to download
Reports on research in the wider Anglian River Basin District
The Environment Agency and NFU recently worked together on a 'Review of phosphorus pollution in Anglian River Basin District'. This is highly relevant to the Welland catchment. Three publications have been produced:
Reports on Catchment management Projects elsewhere
A 2011 report summarising catchment management actions taken by Wessex Water plc to tackle water pollution problems at source, thereby avoiding the costs of expensive 'end-of-pipe' water treatment (see page 13 for a comparison of the relative costs) - Click here to download
Good Practice Guidance
'Think manures' - This guide, produced by Tried & Tested, the Environment Agency and the Agricultural & Horticultural Development Board in 2011, provides useful case studies and good practice examples, on handling, storing and spreading manures and slurries. Click here to download a copy.
Using fertilisers - GrowHow UK Ltd kindly sponsored one of our Workshops in 2012. GrowHow have produced three useful booklets to help farmers make more effective use of fertilisers. Please click on the links for details:
The Catchment Change Network Calendar 2013 - This calendar presents monthly good practice tips, drawn from current work around the country, on tackling diffuse pollution, backed up by some excellent photographs. Please click here to download the calendar.
'Simply Sustainable Soils' - This highly practical guide for farmers, produced by Linking Environment and Farming (LEAF), presents 'Six Simple Steps for your soil to help improve the performance, health and long-term sustainability of your land'. Click here to download a copy.
'Simply Sustainable Water' - Another highly practical guide, also produced by Linking Environment and Farming (LEAF), presents 'Six Simple Steps for managing water quality and use on your land'. Click here to download a copy.
Online guides on improving the water environment
These two guides provide valuable guidance and practice case studies:
River Restoration Centre manual of river restoration techniques - an on-line case study manual developed for river /drainage channel managers. It provides case study examples of different river restoration techniques and will help identify potential restoration techniques for use in river restoration and sustainable river management.
Healthy catchments – managing water for flood risk and the Water Framework Directive - an on-line case study guide, developed for flood managers. It provides examples of how to implement exciting integrated solutions to improve the environment for people and wildlife.
Websites providing information on good practice
Catchment Change Management hub - This new website promises to be the best single source of information, advice and links on catchment management in the UK and we will both contribute to it and draw down new ideas and practical guidance from it - Click here to visit.
Tools to support catchment management
The Farmscoper decision support tool to assess and manage diffuse agricultural pollution - Click here to download
The Ecosystem Health Report Card to communicate the state of catchment water quality and how it is changing - Click here to download
Publications from the Rural Economy and Land Use Research Programme
The following ‘Briefing Paper’ (BP) and ‘Policy and Practice Notes’ (PPNs) report on recent research findings from the Relu programme relevant to catchment work: