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06.01.06
Cornish farmers help protect Cornwall's watercourses through Objective One

The Westcountry Rivers Trust, an independent charitable organisation, established to protect and enhance the region's rivers and streams, is delighted to announce the successful conclusion of its 'Cornwall Rivers Project'. The Project has run for four years, and was financed through Objective One and Defra. Farmers and river managers in 15 of Cornwall's largest river catchments were offered confidential advice as well as grant aid, creating major benefits for the region's rivers and helping to attract more anglers to Cornwall.

During the project, Trust advisers visited over 870 landholdings in Cornwall, each one receiving an individually tailored free 'Integrated River Basin Resource Management Plan' that identified opportunities to improve farming practice, to protect the environment and to make economic savings. The plans cover a total land area in excess of 560 km2 and grant assistance was given for around 169 km of fencing. A variety of other riparian projects such as bank revetments, stoning degraded stock watering points and cleaning spawning gravels also sought directly to improve environmental quality and access to fisheries, leading to increased wider economic benefits to the region.

Based on an independent economic survey, findings conclude that the average annual saving per farm was calculated to be in excess of £1369. Calculations from recommendations of reduced soil loss indicate an annual saving of 9,698 tonnes across Cornwall which equates to £145,260 per year (at £15/t) and immeasurable environmental benefits. Improved fertiliser savings, water conservation advice and other environmental protection measures has contributed to more cash saved in the farmers' back pockets.

Under the Angling 2000 scheme, an integral part of the project, fish habitats and fishing beat income have been improved. Anglers under the scheme made over 700 fishing visits this year alone and the angling database now holds around 2100 participants, 40 percent of whom visit from outside the Westcountry. Total token sales are now around £14,000 annually; all of which is returned to the beat owner as an incentive for continued management of the land in a way that maximizes benefits to the fishery. Between Angling 2000 and uptake of recommendations for new or improved tourism enterprises on farms, an estimated income of £381,510/year is attributed to CRP advice, including increased off-farm income to the Cornish economy. Investment to continue the nationally acclaimed Angling 2000 scheme is presently being sought to continue the programme in future years.

For further information please contact Gillian Dixon of Westcountry Rivers Trust on 08707 740704 or email: wrt@wrt.org.uk.

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in the Cornwall Rivers Project through the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF).

Anyone considering a new horticulture, food and land based industries project is advised to speak with Maria Ford, at Government Office South West on 01752 635015 before commencing development as there are now only limited funds available due to the successful uptake of funding by the agricultural sector in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

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Editor's notes:

For further information on the Cornwall Rivers Project, see the Trust website www.cornwallriversproject.org.uk.

The Westcountry Rivers Trust remains dedicated to protecting and preserving threatened species and habitats, and maintaining healthy riparian systems. If you would like to support their work, Membership costs only £24 per year. For further information about the Trust, and for Membership details please contact the Westcountry Rivers Trust at: 10 Exeter Street, Launceston, PL15 9EQ. Telephone: 08707 740704. www.wrt.org.uk. email: wrt@wrt.org.uk.

Project catchments: Caerhays, Camel & Allen, Cober, Fal & Tresillian, Fowey & Lerryn, Gannel, Inny, E & W Looe, Lynher & Tiddy, Menalhyl, Mevagissey, Neet & Strat, Ottery, Seaton, and St Austell Stream.

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Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk

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