Award for Dales rivers being most healthy for decades

Picture: Graham Wilkinson
Picture: Graham Wilkinson
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LONG-RUNNING efforts to improve water quality in the Yorkshire Dales have been recognised with a prestigious award.

For over five years land and wildlife groups have been working with farmers and landowners to tackle water pollution in the Upper Aire catchment area and the project has proven a success.

In celebration of its achievements the Environment Agency-led project has been recognised by the Wild Trout Trust at its 2015 Conservation Awards in London.

The Upper Aire Land Management and Habitat Project won the award for best large-scale habitat enhancement scheme.

Pete Turner, project manager at the Environment Agency, said: “Our rivers are the healthiest for 20 years, and we are working hard to maintain what we have achieved so far and to further improve water quality and biodiversity.”

As well as the Environment Agency the project has involved the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and the Yorkshire Farming and Wildlife Partnership.

Mr Turner added: “I hope this award will raise the profile of the project further and bring in even more partners in the future so we can continue delivering benefits in the area.”

The most common causes of water pollution are rain water that runs off agricultural and urban land, and the discharges of waste water from industry and sewage overflows.

Starting with demonstration plots to prove the benefits, the project’s agencies have worked with 15 landowners to carry out work such as fencing buffer strips, visiting over 50 farms to advise on nutrient management and planting 27 hectares of woodland.

These actions have reduced pollution, slowed the flow of flood water and improved the quality of habitat for wildlife.

Dr Paul Gaskell, programme manager at the Wild Trout Trust, said: “A significant reason for the success of this project was the use of direct proof of its benefits to potential partners.”

The Conservation Awards recognise and encourage excellence in the management and conservation of wild trout habitat, celebrating the efforts, skills and ingenuity of projects carried out both by professionals and by grass roots voluntary organisations.