This project; funded by the Environment Agency’s Water Environment Investment Fund (WEIF) aims to improve water quality for which the Water Framework Directive (WFD) has classified the Westbury Brook Catchment as failing due to high levels of phosphate attributed to sewage and agricultural sources. This project focuses purely on agricultural sources as part of a combined approach to tackle water quality issues, whilst also engaging local community for water quality monitoring through citizen science.

Walmore Common is an area of land adjacent the Westbury Brook catchment which is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Special Protection Area (SPA) for waders. However, since 2013 the SSSI has been assessed as ‘unfavourable, no change’ due to nitrate and phosphate sources of runoff. A recent project funded by the Environment Agency’s Water Environment Grant has resulted in successful aquatic habitat management, which this project aims to support through improving water quality of these dependant habitats and species.

Farm advice and guidance on how to improve water quality is a key element of this project, through measures such as farm infrastructure, soil health and habitats. Emphasis is also provided on how these opportunities support the farm business and explore sources of potential funding, which may include funding from this project.

In addition to advice through this project, there is also opportunity, if not done so already, to join the FWAG facilitated Forest Guardians Farmer Cluster Group. This provides a means of demonstrating a collective effort towards water quality and habitat enhancement at a landscape scale.

Get in touch with Sarah Wells ([email protected]) for more information.