Water way to go for wetlands and rivers
The Wildlife Trusts welcome the Government’s allocation today of £110 million to enhance and restore rivers and wetlands across England.
Paul Wilkinson, head of Living Landscape, said: “It is great news that a Catchment Restoration Fund is to be established demonstrating the Government’s commitment to a catchment-based approach.
“Working to enhance watercourses and wetlands across whole river catchments means that a range of issues impacting on the natural environment can be tackled in a more joined-up way. Acting at this scale is necessary to reduce the impacts of non-native invasive species, such as Himalayan balsam and Signal crayfish. The way land is managed can reduce river pollution, for example, and allows wildlife to move freely to new habitats. We want rivers and their banks to be full of wildlife.
“Our experience of working at catchment-scale has demonstrated that it often elicits strong interest from landowners and communities. Local engagement with this process, underpinned by nationally-agreed ecological principles, is essential if river restoration is to succeed.
“The Wildlife Trusts and others are already working to restore damaged rivers and wetlands in many catchments across England. The new Catchment Restoration Fund has the potential to support a significant increase in this kind of work across England, improving the quality of rivers for wildlife and protecting and improving the vital services that rivers provide for people.”
Yorkshire Wildlife Trust is working with landowners, statutory agencies and local authorities in the River Hull catchment. The project is creating, restoring and enhancing wetland habitats, whilst also ensuring that farm businesses and communities benefit, for example through farm diversification and agri-environment schemes.
Fostering local pride, support and ownership of the river catchment and its surrounding habitats is also a key aim. Work carried out to-date has increased connectivity and permeability, allowing wildlife to disperse across habitats. New wetland habitats are functioning to store water and slow water flow through the catchment, reducing local flood risk and improving water quality.