Improving the quality of the environment

Bristol Water is leading the Mendip Lakes Partnership with an initiative to work with farmers in the Mendips to reduce diffuse pollution and improve the quality of the environment for wildlife.

The Mendip Lakes Partnership held a cross-compliance themed farm walk and workshop at North Widcombe Farm recently to help farms ensure they are prepared for Rural Payments Agency inspections.

Bristol Water’s Catchment Strategy Manager  Matthew Pitts and Farm Consultant David Cliffe gave an update on how farms can make best use of the Mendip Lakes Partnership, through which Bristol Water’s Catchment Grant Scheme is administered, and local contractor Tom Stone demonstrated grassland sub-soiling equipment.

“I’d like to say thank you to North Widcombe Farm for hosting the event and giving a guided tour of the new Anaerobic Digestion plant. Bristol Water started the Mendip Lakes Project in late 2014 with the aim of co-ordinating farm and advice across the Mendip catchments and to, ultimately, improve water quality in the Mendip reservoir sources,” says Matthew. “We are also keen to help deliver wider environmental improvements, for example by improving the extent of key habitats such as traditional orchards.”

Working with the likes of Natural England, Catchment Sensitive Farming and The Wildlife Trusts, Bristol Water is offering a number of services such as soil analysis and compaction checking, nutrient and manure analysis, NVZ compliance checking, infrastructure audit as well as subsidised contracting services for activities such as sub-soiling, grassland aeration and slurry injection.

Bristol Water is also running its own grant scheme, and farmers are encouraged to contact Matthew Pitts on 07500 917629 (matthew.pitts@bristolwater.co.uk) or David Cliffe on 07753 220401 (dvdcliffe@yahoo.co.uk ) if they want to know how this scheme could help them.  The scheme is flexible in terms of the items it can help support, and farmers are invited to submit their own ideas if they feel they will provide an environmental benefit.

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