What have we done
To begin to reverse these long term trends United Utilities began its innovative Sustainable Catchment Management Programme to benefit both water and wildlife. Putting SCaMP 1 and SCaMP 2 into action was made possible by Ofwat, the water industry financial regulator, allowing us to fund the programme as part of our AMP4 and AMP5 investment programmes.
In our SCaMP 1 programme between 2005 and 2010 we undertook projects across 27,000 hectares of our water catchment areas in the Peak District and Bowland areas. Working with farm tenants in conjunction with partners, such as the RSPB, Natural England and the Forestry Commission we invested £10.6m in moorland restoration, woodland management, farm infrastructure improvements and watercourses protection.
Following on from the success of the SCaMP 1 programme our water industry regulators Ofwat, DWI, Environment Agency and Natural England supported the inclusion of further funding for catchment management between 2010 and 2015. Consequently We have invested a further £11.6m in the SCaMP 2 programme across 30,000 hectares of land in the Cumbria and South Lancashire areas which includes 53 separate farms, agricultural land and common land between 2010 and 2015.
The types of work included:
- restoring blanket bogs by blocking drainage ditches and gullies
- restoring areas of eroded and exposed peat
- restoring hay meadows
- establishing new woodlands
- stabilising land through scrub planting
- restoring heather moorland
- Improving farm facilities to improve livestock housing
- providing new waste management facilities to reduce run-off pollution of water courses
- fencing to keep livestock away from areas such as rivers and streams and from special habitats
- Assisting tenant farmers to enter Higher Level Stewardship schemes
- 608 hectares of upland oak woodland (520,000 trees)
- 320 km of moorland drains blocked to allow for re-wetting
- 10,905 hectares of bare peat re-vegetated
- 258 km of fencing to allow for moorland restoration and woodland planting.
- 21 new stock buildings to allow moorland restoration grazing regimes to be implemented
To allow the land to start to recover and to establish the woodlands, significant changes were required to agricultural practices and often a reduction in livestock numbers. Undertaking the SCaMP improvements allowed farmers to access additional agri-environment income for ten years whilst Natural England and the Forestry Commission provided grants totalling £2.7m towards the cost of the work.
One of the challenges in being one of the first to undertake catchment management and particularly moorland restoration on such a landscape scale is to be able to demonstrate the benefits and the progress that is being made. It is recognised that the deterioration occurred over a number of decades and to restore the catchment vegetation and hydrology is likely to be a long term process.
Natural England has assessed the condition of the 17,500 ha of SSSI and found that 99.4% of this land is now in favourable or unfavourable recovering condition. In the Peak District before SCaMP this had been assessed at 14%.
No national long term data sets exist to extrapolate how quickly changes in vegetation response, hydrology and water quality might occur. To address this Penny Anderson Associates Ltd have been contracted from 2005 to Dec 2014 to undertake comprehensive monitoring of the effects of land management changes at selected sites and sub-catchments areas.
Quiet Shepherd before SCaMP 2007 Quiet Shepherd after SCaMP 2009
SCaMP Monitoring Report - Restoring drained, burnt and grazed moorland June 2013
SCaMP Monitoring Report - Restoration of highly degraded blanket bog June 2013
SCaMP Interim Monitoring Report July 2014
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