Work with farmers and landowners to improve the condition of the Aire, Eden, Lune, Ribble, Swale, Ure and Wharfe so that at least 90% of all rivers achieve ‘good ecological status’ by 2027.
How the local partners are doing on this objective
Progress: Through Natural England’s Catchment Sensitive Farming programme, the National Park Authority provided advice and support to 160 farmers in-person and many others at group meetings on how to improve water quality on farms. The most recent figures from the Environment Agency (2020) showed that 62% of rivers in the National Park were in good ecological status, compared to the national average of 14%.
Press Releases & related articles:
16 August 2021 – Kicking to see what’s alive: wildlife surveys carried out
29 March 2021 – Farmers see case for riverside tree-planting
Yorkshire Post 22 June 2020 – How river restoration in the Yorkshire Dales is bringing back nature’s charm
Rationale: River water quality (47% in good condition) is amongst the best in England but still relatively poor. The largest sources of pollution are: soil erosion; nitrates/phosphates from agriculture; and, historical lead mine workings. The National Park’s rivers are also affected by a number of downstream barriers that prevent fish passage upstream. These are long term issues and it is likely to be several years before the current investment starts to show significant improvements to water quality.
Lead partner: Environment Agency
Supporting partners: Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority; Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust; Ribble Rivers Trust; Lune Rivers Trust; Eden Rivers Trust, Upper Aire Land Management Project; Natural England; Forestry Commission
Further information: Catchment Sensitive Farming;
Cost over 5 years: £2,200,000
Funding shortfall: n/a
Ecosystem services: Water quality; Soil erosion; Regulating pests; Biodiversity
Trade-offs: Tackling pollution could potentially have an impact on costs for farm businesses (E9) and on the conservation of historical lead mining sites (A6). The former are mitigated through Catchment Sensitive Farming grants and cost savings from reductions in fertiliser usage. The latter will be mitigated through careful design of any interventions of Scheduled Monuments.
Baseline: 47% of rivers in the former NP area were in good ecological status in 2017