Dave Baxter EA


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  • Successes
    River Quality Improved
    Chemistry: Good or better improved from 55% (England) and 86% (Wales) in 1990 to 80% and 95% respectively in 2009
    Biology – Good or better improved from 63% (England) and 80% (Wales) in 1990 to 73% and 87% respectively in 2009
    Bathing Water Quality Improved
    The mandatory pass rate for the current BWD improved from 78% in 1990 to 98% in 2010.
    For the revised BWD, more than 90% of bathing waters are expected to meet the ‘sufficient’ classification or better in 2010.
    Pollution Incidents related to Sewerage Reduced
    Since 1990 around 7000 CSOs have been improved. In 2010 352 intermittent discharges were reported to have had an unsatisfactory impact on the environment – down from 5000 in 2000.
    We’re restoring sustainable abstraction at 315 of our most important conservation sites, and our flood risk management work had created 695 ha of BAP habitat by 2010.
    Water Industry:
    Figures from AMP4, 2005 to 2010, for capital costs and length of river improved for different policy drivers are as follows:  
    Policy Driver  Capital Cost (£m)    Length of River Maintained or Improved (km) Main Determinand Improved
    Freshwater Fish             584                   856                                                               Ammonia
    UWWTD                       412                   1088                                                              P
    Habitats & CRoW          437                   1132                                                     Mainly P some Ammonia/BOD 
    Intermittents (CSOs)     558               847                                               Mainly Aesthetics some Ammonia/BOD
    The return of the otter to most of England is one of the major conservation success stories of the last 30 years. The main reason for this increase has been the reduction in levels of toxic pesticides, but the improvements in water quality and consequent increase in fish stocks have probably played a significant part.
    The agency's fifth otter survey in England examined more than 3,300 river sites between July last year and March 2010. Likely sites are searched for signs of otter presence such as paw prints or spraint - droppings. It found more than half bore signs of the animals (59%), up from a third eight years ago and a ten-fold increase on 30 years ago (6% in 1977-79). East Anglia and the Thames have shown the greatest rate of growth since the last survey in 2002.
  • Even within a small set back along Barking creek – one of our surveys found thousands of bass feeding on a small 0.5 hectare setback
  • Cut or at least reorientate to present the 3 solutions
  • The River Quaggy restoration
    Taking an ecosystem approach can deliver integrated solutions for improved watercourses as shown here.
    The London Rivers Action Plan project at Sutcliffe Park, Greenwich, is a good illustration of partners working together to deliver a range of benefits which contribute to health, well being, society and the environment.
    The re-naturalisation of the River Quaggy (a tributary of the Thames) has created wetlands with cycleways, footpaths and open spaces, and has become a valuable community asset and a haven for wildlife and provided flood risk management benefits. Since opening in 2004, visits to the Park have increased by 73%.
  • Chinbrook Meadows, Lewisham - This provides multifunctional space created through redevelopment in the local area and organisations working in partnership
    What is good enough?
    Restoring the natural state and functioning of the river and the riverine environment
    It is not just in channel improvements but we includes the associated habitats and wetlands
    So a large variety of management activities including reconnecting river channels and their floodplain
    It is the whole river catchment from source to sea
    It is not necessarily a return to how the rivers were 300 hundred years ago but creating quality habitats that recognise their current surroundings.
    And does mean we can not improve our rivers right through the heard of our cities and countryside
  • Brookmill Park - Lewisham
    Considering concrete channels, culverts and other similar flood defence structures only have a limited time span before they require repairs and eventually replacement, the management cost of this large infrastructure has become a main concern. A recent study carried out by the Environment Agency has highlighted that ‘like for like’ replacement of all structures on the Ravensbourne that are not owned by them could cost £193 million5. The current estimate is that these assets have a residual life of between 15 and 30 years with regular maintenance6. These estimates are broad brush; however, they do provide an indication of the large sums of money involved.
    With climate change causing wetter winters and hotter drier summers, we have come to the realisation that concrete channels and culverts are a vulnerable and inappropriate solution to the demands and potentials of our rivers. Because the prediction of climate change impacts will never be exact, flexibility and adaptability of the river environment is fundamental to flood management. Bringing back space for water and vegetation is now considered as the best approach to bring back flexibility when managing flood risk but also when trying to re-establish river habitats as well as cutting down on the soaring temperatures, increasing pollution levels and the need for even more air conditioning7.
  • Step/Stage 1 – Collection and collation of information: to address the need to understand and promote best practice in RR across Europe by providing communication platform
  • Dave Baxter EA

    1. 1. Practical, cost effective measures: The challenge of modified waters David Baxter Head of Catchment Management
    2. 2. Successes 7000 Combined Sewerage Overflows have been improved Bathing water quality improved from 78% to 98% Chemistry improved from 55% to 95% Biology improved from 63% to 73% Otter populations have increased ten-fold in the last 30 years 7000 Combined Sewerage Overflows have been improved and we’ve restored sustainable abstraction at 315 of our most important conservation sites
    3. 3. 2009 2015 © Environment Agency copyright and / or database right 2009. All rights reserved. This map includes data supplied under licence from: © Crown Copyright and database right 2009. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey licence number 100026380. Some river features of this map are based on digital spatial data licensed from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, © CEH. Licence number 198 version 2.
    4. 4. Diffuse - agriculture 250 500 1000 Number of water bodies Land Drainage Water storage/ supply Abstraction Urbanisation flood Protection Reasons for Failure CSO Barriers Wider environ ment Mines Mines Mixed urban runoff 0 Light colour = suspected Dark colour = confirmed recreation Fin fisheries Inland navigation sewage works Coastal Erosion Shell fisheries
    5. 5. Less stringent objectives? Evidence and engagement will be key
    6. 6. Meeting the Challenge? Engage FCRM Opportunities Share knowledge Make it relevant to local development Value the system, not just “Good”
    7. 7. Catchment Engagement Translating our evidence • Not just sharing data Building delivery partnerships • Not just good status Walkovers and 3rd party data • Follow-up breaches Learn and test approaches • Catchment plans • Innovative delivery
    8. 8. River Petteril Trial
    9. 9. River Petteril – consensus
    10. 10. LongPrestonDeeps River Restoration – achieving ‘Good Ecological Potential’ Long Preston Deeps, near Settle was classified as ‘heavily modified’ due to flood defences constraining the channel. High flows on the River Ribble in early 2011 punched a hole through a flood bank providing a rare opportunity to put in place a sustainable restoration solution for a 200m section of the river. Work and associated benefits include: • Removing the breached flood embankment and creating a new one further back to allow the river to reconnect to the flood plain. • Creating chutes to increase flood storage and habitat whilst preventing erosion • Reconnecting historical natural features. • Creating wetland scrapes and wet woodland planting creating habitat and shade for the river. • Installing fencing to control livestock grazing and allow natural regeneration of flood plain. • Redistribution of rock boulders that were no longer providing erosion protection to create river bed variation. • More land now within Natural England’s Higher Level Stewardship scheme. • Decreased siltation. Working in partnership The project worked in partnership with land owners and utilised the established Long Preston Deeps Wet Grassland Group - the group includes partners such as, RSPB, Natural England, The Yorkshire Dales Millenium Trust, North Yorkshire County Council, local landowners, The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, The Ribble Catchment Conservation Trust. The works had to be completed in a very short timescale. Major constraints that were overcome include: •SSSI constraints •Archaeological surveys •Vegetation •Fishing rights •Land access •Balancing legal duties (CDM – CDM 2007) with the timescales and ecological constraints of the site. What’s next This is just one small section of the 7km of the River Ribble that has been improved and it is hoped that this will act as a demonstration site to show other land owners and groups what can be achieved by working with rather than against, a river. We will be proving updates on the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust website and feeding this work into the WFD Ribble Pilot.
    11. 11. RESTORE The RESTORE project is made possible with the contribution of the LIFE+ financial instrument of the European Community partnership for sharing knowledge & promoting best practice on river restoration in Europe and works in partnership with www.restorerivers.eu
    12. 12. Challenges • Limited awareness of planners and practitioners • Insufficient access to best practice • Geographical variation in understanding and capacity Consensus on river restoration good practices to support European policy goals
    13. 13. The River Quaggy and Sutcliffe Park restoration
    14. 14. Some local authorities get it – but why? Before After
    15. 15. Some local authorities get it - why? Before After
    16. 16. Support policy makers and practitioners to make more informed decisions • 1. Consensus on river restoration good practice - What is good river restoration practice and how is this needed by different countries? • 2. Communication of information to key target audiences - Engage stakeholders, establish networks and build information resource • 3. Stimulate integrated catchment approaches Solutions and Way forward
    17. 17. RESTORE Outputs 36 events in over 10 countries next two include a CIWEM event in Lille, spatial planning event in Arnhem and the RRC conference in Nottingham in April 1200 persons engaged through events 500 case studies on the WIKI database 90,000 persons through project outreach International River Restoration Conference www.restorerivers.eu
    18. 18. Healthy rivers, Healthy cities Connecting people to rivers brings major gains Eg Mayesbrook - £4m project, £27m benefit to quality of lives & economic opportunity
    19. 19. 2nd Cycle Plans - Goals The healthiest water environment that society can sustainably achieve by 2021 and 2027 Clear framework for decision making Presented in a more user-friendly way Wide debate on appropriate responses Integrated with other water planning process Appropriate mix of national and local engagement
    20. 20. More naturally functioning catchments Better balance for people and wildlife £ £ £