£1.86 million boost for Cornwall's rivers

Objective One is helping to breathe new life into Cornwall’s rivers thanks to a £1.86 million project to improve the environment in targeted river catchments across the county.

The Westcountry Rivers Trust, which has seen phenomenal success with similar projects in other parts of the region, has received an Objective One grant for £744,500 towards the Cornwall Rivers Project (which forms Phase II of their Westcountry Rivers Project).

The Trust, an independent charitable organisation set up to protect and enhance the region’s rivers and streams by working with landowners and the wider community, will provide free practical advice for around 660 Cornish farmers and landowners on improving resource management through integrated land and river management plans.

Incomes and the environment both benefit through a range of approaches including the managed use of fertilisers and the targeted use of manures, soil conservation measures and improved waste management, all of which reduce the impact of agriculture on rivers. The project is also able to offer capital grants toward the fencing of watercourses and fishery improvement works.

The project is modelled on a pilot scheme the Trust delivered for the river Tamar between 1996 and 2000, when 300 land managers received detailed site-specific advice that identified economic opportunities with significant environmental benefits.

This was followed by the Westcountry Rivers Project Phase I, which was competed last July and delivered over an 18-month period. It dealt with the catchment of the rivers Taw and Torridge in North Devon, and has benefited a further 330 land managers. Phase II will see that project extended to Cornwall.

Arlin Rickard, Director of the Westcountry Rivers Trust, said: “We’ve had great success working in partnership with farmers and river owners in North Devon and we want to bring that to Cornwall by focusing on best farming practice and the protection, rehabilitation and improvement of the Cornish river environment.

“More and more people recognise that an integrated approach together with the application of best farming practice can provide economic gains and have a beneficial impact on the rural and riparian environment through reducing diffuse pollution. This project aims to support farmers and other landowners by offering practical advice and helping them draw up integrated farm and river management plans that make the most of their resources including opportunities for diversification, including angling. We can also provide capital grants to help them undertake river-bank fencing works for the benefit of the river and wildlife.

“The project also aims to reduce soil erosion from agricultural land, localised flooding and other adverse effects while encouraging community involvement in the management of river environments through the development of angling opportunities, education and occasional river walks.”

The project, which is expected to create 19 full-time jobs, will survey and target work to revitalise ten key rivers and their tributaries throughout the county including the rivers Lynher, Fowey, Camel, Ottery, Inny, East and West Looe, Seaton, Neet and Strat, Fal and Cober.

The Westcountry Rivers Trust is working with BDB Associates, Royal Holloway Institute for Environmental Research, the Environment Agency, South West Water and Imerys to deliver the project.

The £744,500 from Objective One is being match funded by the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with £364,870 coming from private sector partners.

If you want to get involved in the project and to find out more please contact the Westcountry Rivers Trust on 01566 784488.

For more information contact:

Arlin Rickard, Director)
Westcountry Rivers Trust
Tel: 01566 784488
E-mail: wrt@wrt.org.uk


Editors notes:

Jason Clark
Communications Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Tel:01872 241379
Fax:01872 241388