Yorkshire scheme to reduce agricultural pollution

A new two-year project in the Yorkshire Dales National Park will continue work with local farmers to help reduce water pollution on their land.

Similar schemes, on the rivers and streams within the Semerwater and Upper Lune catchments came to an end last year. These two areas have now been combined to create the new Semerwater and Upper Lune Catchment Sensitive Farming Partnership.

The initiatives encouraged farmers to protect riverbanks on their land from livestock by fencing them off, planting networks of woodlands and restoring moorland. The scheme also aimed to improve the ways farmers used manures, slurries and chemical fertilisers to reduce leakage into waterways.

Over the next six months, teams from the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA), Natural England and the Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust will be continuing this work with farmers and communicate the fact that, as of early next year, funding is available to help farmers within the catchment area.

YDNPA’s senior farm conservation officer Helen Keep explained: “The two-year project is funded by DEFRA and Natural England, and the overall aim is to develop low-cost ways of improving water quality and reducing water pollution from farms.

“This time the Government has given the partnership access to the national Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF) capital grant scheme, which aims to help land managers to tackle diffuse pollution by providing funding to make relatively low-cost infrastructure investments.

“The capital items available are designed to tackle environmental issues on farms, reduce diffuse pollution and improve the natural environment. A fixed payment rate has been set for each capital item and, from early next year, farmers within the catchment area will be able to apply to this scheme.

“Over the next six months we will be visiting farms to discuss opportunities for grant funding and preparing interested farmers for the capital grant scheme.

“We will also be setting up demonstration areas on two farms – one in each catchment – field trialing different muck and slurry applicators, studying sward growth and forage value and also looking at the economic benefits of water quality management on farms.”

Anyone interested in the project can find out more by contacting Helen on 01756 751611 or emailing her at [email protected].

Will Parsons

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