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Operationalising the outputs from the evidence and measures project - WT1538

The overall objective of the Evidence and Measures project is to work with stakeholders to implement evidence-based measures in difficult water bodies and catchments and in so doing improve the status of these water bodies under the Water Framework Directive (WFD).

The strength of E+M is that it focuses on using existing internal and external evidence to engage with stakeholders and give them confidence to select appropriate catchment specific measures to be implemented via a shared plan of action. An additional advantage that has become apparent from testing the E+M approach, is that it acts as a real catalyst to identifying and delivering focussed measures on the ground. Importantly the E+M approach can be applied to any type of catchment (rural or urban) and in theory to any reason for WFD failure.

E+M has worked on three trial catchments: River Petteril (a rural catchment in Cumbria), the Tidal Ribble (a rural/urban/coastal catchment in Lancashire) and Moston Brook (an urban catchment in Manchester). All three were deliberately chosen by local Environment Agency staff because they were considered “difficult”. It was unclear how to select appropriate measures usually because it was not clear which of the many possible causes of WFD failure first required action. Moston Brook apparently has the worst water quality and is the most complex water body in the Northwest.

The Benefits of Evidence and Measures
The UK’s aspirations for the Water Framework Directive are not only to achieve good status in water bodies by 2027 (at the latest), but also for it to be a process in which different organisations and communities come together to achieve far more than individual bodies could do alone; building a stronger community as a consequence (part of “Big Society”). The Evidence and Measures project will not meet the entirety of these two aspirations alone, however, the expected numerous benefits will play a big part in helping to meet them..

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In close conjunction with the Defra Catchment Based Approach (CaBA), this phase of the Evidence & Measures project aims to:

1) Make the approaches and learning that has been developed on previous phases of Evidence & Measures widely available to a variety of catchment partners who are working on their own "difficult" water bodies and catchments;

2) Work with catchment partners on the River Petteril trial catchment, where measures have already been implemented, to assess the consequences of those measures;

3) Trial methods for scaling up the approaches used in previous phases from the water body to the CaBA Catchment scale.

The potential rewards for this area of work are far greater than simply meeting EU WFD targets, and include capacity building for catchment management and the development of strong relations within both the Environment Agency and between catchment partners as actions are agreed and put in place. The ultimate reward for the country will be eradicating unnecessary stresses on water bodies and achieving the true capacity of our catchments to provide food, water and a thriving aquatic ecology.
Project Documents
• FRP - Final Report : WT1538_Final_Report_Evidence_and_Measures_Project   (459k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2013

To: 2017

Cost: £192,872
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Environmental Impact              
Water Quality