Late last week Defra announced the next stages of the Catchment Based Approach, the pilot initiative that led to the development of the Tyne Catchment Plan.
Defra has set out its policy framework for future catchment working (see https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/catchment-based-approach-improving-the-quality-of-our-water-environment).
The key points that we at Tyne Rivers Trust have taken from this document are:
- Defra has stated its commitment to planning for river improvements on a catchment basis, and has put aside £1.6m of funding in the coming year to help achieve this. Guidance on the funding and how to apply will be available soon.
- Defra views ‘catchment partnerships’ as the main method of delivering river improvements at a manageable scale. It envisages an independent organisation taking the lead in co‑ordinating that partnership, and only where no such lead exists will the Environment Agency take the lead role.
- The Environment Agency’s Catchment Co-ordinators will act as the key liaison between the catchment partnerships and the EA’s own activities.
- Defra envisages the catchment partnerships becoming self-sustaining in the longer term, but has not identified any funding streams to permit this to happen beyond the first year.
We don’t yet know whether the ‘pilot’ catchments, like the Tyne, will be eligible for the funding, and are awaiting a further announcement. I will of course update this site as soon as we hear more.
Susan Mackirdy, Catchment Pilot Project Manager