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Funding mechanisms for addressing historic morphological pressures on surface water bodies - WT0906CRF

Project Specification

Water Framework Directive: funding mechanisms for addressing historic morphological pressures on surface water bodies in England and Wales

1) In response to the Defra/WAG consultation on Hydromorphology Mechanisms several public bodies and NGOs identified the need for a dedicated catchment restoration fund to pay for the physical restoration of historic morphological modifications that contribute to the failure of Water Framework Directive (WFD) objectives.
2) There remains a need to scope options for the administration of any such potential fund to ensure the effective targeting and delivery of physical restoration activities and to explore all possible sources of funding.
3)This document sets out the requirements for a project to:
(i) identify sources of funding to pay for physical restoration of historic morphological modifications
(ii) develop costed options for the administration of a catchment restoration fund, and alternative models for delivering restoration.
4) Proposals are invited from organisations that can demonstrate relevant experience and:
(i) an understanding of WFD requirements in relation to hydromorphological conditions in surface water bodies;
(ii) an awareness of the context in which the environmental protection agencies and environmental NGOs operate domestically and internationally, including opportunities for, and barriers to, joint working and any implications for obtaining grants and other financial support.
The project will be funded by Defra Water Directorate.

5) The WFD requires Member States to manage the impacts to the ecological status of water bodies which result from changes to the flow and physical characteristics of water bodies. It requires action in those cases where these hydromorphological pressures are having an ecological impact which will interfere with our ability to achieve Water Framework Directive objectives.
6) A recent consultation on mechanisms to deliver WFD requirements on hydromorphology set out a wide range of mechanisms already available for delivering measures to avoid or mitigate hydromorphological impacts from new or ongoing activities. However, it concluded that it would be difficult to assign responsibility for paying for historic modifications resulting from legal activities by private individuals and organisations or where no owner of a modification could be identified.

7) The sorts of measures for which there is no obvious funding mechanism are mainly capital works such as removal of weirs and other barriers and redundant structures in river channels, together with rehabilitation of the channel up and downstream of such structures.
8) A number of consultees proposed as a solution the establishment of a catchment restoration fund. Such a fund would be used to pay for, or contribute to, the cost of morphological improvements to water bodies where necessary to support the achievement of ecological objectives.

Project Objectives
9) Identify potential sources of funding to pay (in whole or in part) for the physical restoration of water body morphology.
10) Responses to the Government consultation referred to above suggested that Government should pay additional funds for carrying out restoration work which is necessary to achieve WFD objectives. This may be the best solution in circumstances where no person or organisation is responsible for the historic modification or where it would be unreasonable to expect the landowner to meet the costs of necessary work.
11) However, given the high demand for Government funding and given the desire to maximise the monies available from all potential sources the contractor should undertake the following:
(i) review and briefly report on the current situation on funding sources for physical restoration activities across England and Wales and the principle physical restoration activities being conducted by the public, private and civil society sectors.
(ii) identify all potential sources of funding (domestic and international) for physical restoration activities within rivers and within the broader catchment
(iii) identify any conditions attached to obtaining funds from these sources
(iv) assess whether any such conditions have broader implications for the structure and administration of a catchment restoration fund
The last action feeds into objective 2 below and should be used to help inform the selection of appropriate business models for the structure and administration of the fund.
12) Develop one or more models for:
(i) the structure and administration of a fund
(ii) the delivery of restoration works
and assess the comparative costs and benefits of each model, drawing on any relevant existing examples
13) The contractor, with advice from Defra, will be responsible for identifying key stakeholders and eliciting responses to the questions and issues raised by this project. On the basis of these consultations the contractor should aim to find common ground among stakeholders on how the fund should be structured and administered. If there is a good level of agreement among stakeholders then a single business model can be identified but if faced with several different proposals then up to three business models should be identified and assessed as below.
14) Issues to consider in regard to the administration of the fund include at minimum:
(i) How the fund should be managed e.g. centrally by one nominated body or by a group that incorporates all key deliverers? If the latter then who should bear overall responsibility?
(ii) What types of delivery mechanism (organisation, partnership etc.) should be considered and supported?
(iii) How should spend for local restoration projects be strategically planned, prioritised and allocated?
(iv) What are the options for balancing the need for national overview (to ensure cost-effectiveness and targeting to maximise benefit for WFD) with River Basin District or more local development of specific proposals?
(v) What types of restoration activities should we consider funding (e.g. industrial, agricultural, disused )?
15) Each model should specify the scale at which the fund would operate - national, river basin district or more local.
16) Alternative models should be compared and assessed against the following criteria as a minimum:
(i) Cost-effectiveness
(ii) The ability to target funds to where they are most needed to help achieve WFD objectives
(iii) The potential to maximise funding from various sources
(iv) The ability to engage and secure the involvement of deliverers in public and private bodies and the voluntary sector
(v) Efficient management to facilitate delivery of multiple benefits and avoid duplication of administrative processes
(vi) Robust administrative processes to ensure that the fund is used efficiently, effectively and for the intended purpose
(v) Flexibility of the administrator of the fund to respond to changing priorities and objectives, etc. as the WFD Programme matures
17) Assessment of the costs and benefits of alternative models should include direct and indirect costs and benefits. For example, the impact of a particular approach to running the fund on its ability to deliver should be weighed against the cost of establishing and operating the fund.

18) A report covering the items outlined above should be delivered within three months of award of the contract.
19) A concise summary report is required to provide an overview of the discussions held, highlighting areas of common agreement and differences among the stakeholders involved. The report should then present the strengths and weaknesses of the business model(s) developed during the project. Any detailed proposals or materials submitted by stakeholders can be included under separate cover.
20) The successful contractor will be required as part of this project to organise and facilitate a meeting of stakeholders at project initiation in order to give early steer to all project partners and to solicit initial views. A second stakeholder meeting will be required within three weeks of delivery of the draft report. The purpose of this meeting will be to inform (and ideally agree) the decision on the most appropriate business model and to agree the next steps to achieve this aim.
21) Bi-weekly bullet-point progress reports followed by a telecon with the project manager or steering group will be required for the duration of the project.

Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2009

To: 2009

Cost: £30,590
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Royal Haskoning