Water Environment Grant Project Update – Spring 2021

28 Apr 2021

Get the latest progress and updates on activities and achievements from Nene & Welland Support for Farmer Action, in association with the EU Water Environment Grant.

Unfortunately, due to some delays, COVID restrictions, and the wettest December-February period in 100 years, the project ambled along slightly slower than hoped towards the end of 2020. Despite this, significant progress has now been made and we are delighted to be able to (finally) publish the latest updates from our WEG-funded Nene & Welland Support for Farmer Action project. 

Natural Flood Management (NFM) 

A site has been selected in West Northants, which is on low lying permanent grassland adjacent to the River Nene. Here, we intend to use a range of NFM techniques to demonstrate practical opportunities that farmers can do and, also, most importantly, show that NFM structures do not cause flooding and loss of productive land but can hold back some flood waters when the time comes. 

A site visit and full plan has been completed with specifications for the NFM structures. The tender process is now complete and work shall begin during the summer months to install the structures, subject to permission being granted by the Bedford Internal Drainage Board. 

The site will also host one of the solar pumps, which will provide cattle with an alternative drinking source in order to avoid poaching river banks. In time, this will be a great site for local farmers and advisors alike to visit, enabling a practical visualization of how a similar project could work on their own, or clients land. 

Other potential sites and ideas at present include: 

Welland Catchment – It is intended that a Solar pump & trough as a similar reflection of the Nene demonstration site can be installed. The site will host new watercourse fencing and a solar pump supplying water to multiple livestock drinking troughs. 

Other options, such as rainwater harvesting, were investigated but proved too restrictive for the timeline available for delivery. Ideas for a third demonstration site are currently being finalized. 

Knowledge Exchange 

Despite events having to be cancelled around the end of 2020 due to availability issues and COVID restrictions, RNRP has rallied and was able to organise its first ever series of scheduled interactive digital events for farmers, which are fully supported by WEG. These began in February and continue to run monthly as we head into Spring. The first online event, which took place on 16th February, attracted over 50 attendees. There are now further online events scheduled monthly. 

Resources: 

Download presentations and source materials from our February and March digital sessions. 

Register NOW for our next digital event for May 2021. 

What’s Next? 

With Covid restrictions beginning to ease (and the blessing of some nicer weather for standing outside!) farm visits can reconvene safely. Work will now focus on continuing the successful online workshop events, engaging the Welland Floodplain Facilitation Fund Group in their capital grant bid, whilst finalizing the details of the demonstration sites in the Nene and Welland. 

For more details about Nene & Welland Support for Farmer Action, and other WEG-supported projects and initiatives, visit our Projects page. 

For real-time updates, event notifications and resources for Farmers in the Nene & Welland Catchments, keep an eye on our News section.