Local Action

Public information and consultation is a key element of Article 14 of the WFD. Given below are some initiatives and projects which are involving the public and helping to achieve the objectives of the WFD.

Westcountry Rivers Trust


By working with local communities, businesses and other environmental organisations the Westcountry Rivers Trust Helps to restore and protect the water environment in the West Country for the benefit of people, wildlife and the local economy.


In 2012 the Westcountry Rivers Trust won funding to deliver over £4 million of restoration work over three years on river catchments across the South West and a recent independent economic evaluation has shown that for each £1 invested, between £1.9 and £4.5 has been generated, depending on the project location. These Catchment Restoration Fund (CRF) projects have been delivered on the rivers of the South Hams, the Axe and Exe, the Dart and Teign, the Rivers of South Cornwall and the Taw. The projects have now finished and have been a success, both ecologically and economically.

Read the full report here:


The Westcountry Rivers Trust has been working to remove barriers to fish migration in many of our rivers and have had considerable success, especially in the Taw Catchment where 12 barriers have been removed or mitigated to open up many hundreds of kilometres of river to migratory fish. Their work on fisheries aims to develop local knowledge and forums by working with local interest groups such as farmers and fishermen to help inform and engage them in issues related to good river management.


The Westcountry Rivers Trust, in collaboration with Defra and the Rivers Trust, has developed a method for undertaking stakeholder-led spatial visualisation of ecosystem services.


Defra - Local Action Project

Research carried out by West Country Rivers Trust, on behalf of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.  It has taken a partnership approach that will enable local communities and civil society groups to discover their vision for where they live and to help them to form effective stakeholder-partnerships that can realise this. Water quality, measured by the number of ‘urban’ Reason for Not Achieving Good Status under the Water Framework Directive classification was one of the Environmental indicators used.

Ecosystem services in urban water environments (Project WT1580)  - Final Report November 2016

Working with local communities to enhance the value of natural capital in our towns, cities and other urban spaces to improve people’s lives, the environment and economic prosperity.


Manchester Case Study:



Demonstration Test Catchments

Demonstration Test Catchments (DTC) is a UK government-funded project designed to provide robust evidence regarding how diffuse pollution from agriculture can be cost-effectively controlled to improve and maintain water quality in rural river catchment areas. The overall objective of the project is to provide evidence to test the hypothesis that it is possible to cost effectively reduce the impact of agricultural diffuse water pollution on ecological function while maintaining food security through the implementation of multiple on-farm measures across whole river catchments using local expertise to solve local problems. The DTC project is currently working in four study catchments across England.

By adopting the platform/community of practice approach, the research can be undertaken by the academics and rapidly applied in practice, whilst the practitioners in the community can test the more practical questions.


Ouse and Adur Rivers Trust

A volunteer task force forms an integral part of the Ouse and Adur Rivers Trust and undertakes a range of projects across the catchment, from site maintenance and clearance to restoration of spawning habitat and upstream access for migratory fish. OART is raising awareness of catchment issues through community engagement and events such as water fairs, landowner and stakeholder workshops, and an annual open day.




Southeast Rivers Trust – Beverley Brook

Like many rivers, the Beverley Brook has been modified over time to fit into our more developed urban landscape. Within Wimbledon Common, the river has been over-straightened and reinforced with wooden toe boarding. As a result, the flow of the river has become very uniform and lacks biodiversity. A team of volunteers have assisted in a project to install Large Woody Material (LWM) into the river channel. LWM replicates a natural occurrence of trees and branches falling into rivers which then provides habitat for fish and invertebrates. The use of LWM in the right places can transform a still, slow-moving river into a highly diverse river channel with a variety of habitats for all life stages of fish and invertebrates.


The Mimram and Beane (Chalk stream tributaries of the River Lee)

‘The Cinderella Rivers – the Mimram and the Beane’ are featured in the WWF 2010 report ‘Riverside Tales – Lessons for water management reform from three English rivers’. Local communities have campaigned for action to restore these rivers and the report emphasises the ‘urgent need for all the different stakeholders – the Environment Agency, water companies, local councils and regional government – to work with the community to develop joined-up solutions’. It recommends that community groups should focus efforts on raising awareness of the value of the rivers and champion water saving in the local area.


In 2013 the Wildlife Trusts reported on the ‘Landscape-scale approach to river restoration’ as Environment Minister Richard Benyon recognised the work already achieved by Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust and partners on the Rivers Beane and Mimram, where the ‘Catchment Based Approach’ has been piloted successfully. The development of the Beane and Mimram Catchment Management Plan has been part of a nationwide scheme driven by Defra and the Environment Agency, with the aim of helping all our rivers reach ‘Good Ecological Status’ by 2027. This new approach involves a wider range of organisations, including local river groups such as the Friends of the Mimram and the River Beane Restoration Association.






South Chilterns Catchment Partnership


This is one of over 100 catchment partnerships now established across England and cross-border Wales. It is hosted by the Foundation for Water Research. Catchment partners include the Environment Agency, Thames Water, Natural England, NFU, non-governmental organisations such as the Chilterns Chalk Streams Project, Revive the Wye, Pang Flood Forum, West Berkshire Countryside Society, and the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust.

Priority issues in the catchment are diffuse pollution from urban areas and from rural areas; point source pollution from sewage treatment works, and barriers to fish passage.

The catchment partnership aims to contribute to environmental outcomes (by 2021) through:

  • River Wye and River Pang – habitat improvement projects, creating a significant number and range of new habitats for fish and invertebrates; this will address issues of poor riverine habitat caused both by diffuse pollution from urban surface water drainage, and rural diffuse pollution.
  • River Thames – proposed riparian work at Kings Meadow recreation ground.
  • A number of further projects which concentrate on educational issues, eg Trout in the Classroom, community work (at Funges Meadow and Little Marlow Lakes), and the provision of advice and training concerning invasive non-native species.

Other future aims include:

  • Development of recreational access on the Thames at Reading. This will provide social and economic benefits.
  • Weir removal on the Pang, providing improvement to movement of fish along the watercourse.
  • Helping Wycombe District Council to deliver ‘Remaking the Wye’ (a medium to long term project) with a contribution to opening up a culverted length of the Wye through High Wycombe town centre, providing aesthetic, environmental, social and economic benefits. In addition, arranging the removal or modification of various weirs along the Wye and the Hughenden Stream to improve fish passage.
  • Assisting the delivery of the overarching strategy for the Thames on this stretch of the river through partnerships, including reduction in flood risk.

For details on the background to the catchment-based approach, click on this link: (http://www.euwfd.com/html/catchment-based-approach.html)

Chilterns Chalk Streams Project


Led by the Chilterns Conservation Board, the Chilterns Chalk Streams Project is a partnership of statutory agencies, local authorities and voluntary bodies committed to conserving the chalk stream environment. The project aims to conserve and enhance all major chalk streams in the Chilterns AONB and to encourage enjoyment and understanding of them.

Wessex Chalk Streams Project

The Wessex Chalk Streams Project (WCSP) is a partnership between Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, English Nature, the Environment Agency, Wessex Water and the Wiltshire Fishery Association. The project acts as a ‘one stop shop’, working with riparian landowners and managers to promote wildlife-friendly river enhancement and management of the River Avon system Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in Wiltshire, which includes the tributaries, Wylye, Nadder, Till and Bourne. It also focuses on the River Ebble as well as associated wetlands and areas suitable for wetland restoration.


Sharing Understanding in the Tamar and Thurne: Case Study

This case study refers to the Rural Economy and Land Use Research project Catchment Management for the Protection of Water Resources: A ‘Template’ (2010). This RELU study, led by Laurie Smith from SOAS University of London,  was piloted in the Tamar and Thurne catchments and developed a new ‘catchment area partnership’ (CAP) approach for the delivery of catchment management in England and Wales. The experience of this project revealed useful lessons for stakeholder engagement and participation.



This case study is referred to in the draft Tamar catchment plan.



UK Rivers Network


The UK Rivers Network (UKRN) is an informal network of groups and individuals interested in rivers and related issues across England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. It acts as an information interchange for the UK rivers community. Although networking is the main focus, it is also involved in campaigning, educational activities and long-term policy work.

The UKRN is interested in all aspects of the freshwater environment, including canals, lakes, estuaries and wetlands. Activities include ecological protection, recreational uses of water, water quality issues, flood defence, impacts of climate change, implications of new national and European legislation/policy, river regeneration projects, and developments that adversely affect rivers or groundwater.

Useful items on the UKRN website include:

An International Rivers Network can be found at:


Love Your River



Love Your River’ aims to highlight the link between river health and water use, so that people understand and value water and take action to improve their local rivers and the environment around them. Backed by Defra and a coalition of NGOs and water companies, Love Your River celebrates the importance of rivers to local people – for their health, well-being, leisure and sport.

This initiative, however, is not just about educating people about the difficulties that many rivers face. It also recognises the great work local groups already do to look after their rivers – honouring the community spirit and the inspirational individuals who give up their time and energy to improve their local environment.

Case studies can be accessed at:


A ‘Love Your River’ blog has launched online, highlighting why taking action to improve river health is so important.

You can visit the blog at: (http://loveyourriver.tumblr.com/)



Thames21 developed from a partnership programme supported by Keep Britain Tidy, the Port of London Authority, the Environment Agency, Thames Water, British Waterways, The Corporation of London and 19 local authorities. The charity is now independent, and is funded by a wide variety of charitable trusts, companies and public funding. It has a growing and diverse programme of water improvement projects across London.

Thames21 is the voice for London’s waterways, working with communities to improve rivers and canals for people and wildlife. They mobilise over 12,000 volunteers every year to clean and green the capital’s 400 mile network of waterways. Thames21 aims to transform neglected and littered waterways into areas that everyone can use and enjoy with innovative and tailored community approaches; they work hand-in-hand with local communities to improve and maintain our waterways by: removing litter; creating new habitats for wildlife, flora and fauna; removing non-native invasive species; undertaking monitoring and research; removing graffiti; delivering education projects; campaigning for the reduction of waterway pollution and promoting sustainable behaviour; accrediting and training community groups to deliver safe and sustainable waterway improvement events.

Water for Wildlife Project

Water for Wildlife is a far-reaching partnership supporting wetland conservation across the UK. It aims to co-ordinate the wetland work of the Wildlife Trusts, working with water companies, the Environment Agency and other partners to provide a more consistent and targeted approach to wetland conservation. It also supports national and regional project development and encourages sharing of best practice between the trusts and their partners.

The aim of Water for Wildlife is to protect and enhance wetlands through identifying and surveying wetlands, providing advice to landowners, managers and local authorities, carrying out a range of practical work such as habitat restoration or pond creation, otter and water vole survey and protection, and involving local people in practical conservation activities. Each project is identified as part of Water for Wildlife but has its own area-specific focus (based on local Biodiversity Action Plan targets, for example) and appropriate local partners.

Further advice about wetlands can be obtained from:

Chris Rostron: chris.rostron@wwt.org.uk

Helen Perkins: hperkins@wildlifetrusts.org

Anglian Water supports projects in Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire. These projects involve a wide variety of organisations including Wildlife Trusts, local authorities, Environment Agency and Natural England.

Essex Wildlife Trust – Water for Wildlife

The Essex Water for Wildlife Project is part of a partnership of The Wildlife Trusts, Environment Agency, water companies and other local partners, dedicated to providing a consistent, targeted approach to all types of wetland conservation.

One of the main aims of the project is to bring water voles back to streams and rivers after twenty years of decline. Advice and practical help are given across the county to landowners, councils, conservationists and recreational groups in order to achieve this. Since work began on the Essex Water Vole Recovery Project in 2007, voles have been reintroduced to the River Colne, and habitat improvements and targeted mink removal have resulted in natural recolonisation across over 500km2 of north east Essex.


Kent Wildlife Trust – Water for Wildlife

Thanks to funding from SITA Trust and the Environment Agency, Kent Wildlife Trust has embarked upon a landmark project to help protect the endangered water vole on the North Kent Marshes. This partnership project will address the key factors that have contributed to the decline of the water vole: degradation and loss of habitat, and predation by the American mink (Neovison vison).


Suffolk Wildlife Trust –Water for Wildlife

Water for Wildlife in Suffolk is part of the partnership supporting wetland conservation at Wildlife Trusts across the UK. Suffolk Wildlife Trust's Water for Wildlife Project aims to make a major contribution towards the restoration and protection of wetland habitat and wildlife, especially water voles and otters. The Project has been running since 2003 and is funded by Anglian Water, Essex & Suffolk Water and the Environment Agency.


Wiltshire Wildlife Trust – Water for Wildlife

This project combines two well-established areas of work – water vole conservation and restoring and managing areas of wetland across the county.




London Wildlife Trust - Water for Wildlife: Discovering life in London's waterways and boosting freshwater habitats


The Freshwater Habitats Trust project  - ‘Thames Water for Wildlife’ - November 2015 – November 2017

Thames Water for Wildlife has helped thousands of people to connect with their local freshwater environment. The heart of the project is community involvement—increasing people’s knowledge, enjoyment and appreciation of the freshwater habitats around them. To do this the project worked with groups, schools and individuals across the Thames Water region.


Wildlife Trusts


There are 47 Wildlife Trusts across the UK. Each Trust is an independent, autonomous charity with its own trustees, whose primary concern is the conservation of nature within its own geographical area. The following website provides details of where the Trusts are located:


The Trusts work together on national and international issues and matters of common concern through an informal partnership arrangement. The Trusts are split into regions. A single Trust covers Scotland, while Wales has six Trusts which work increasingly closely together. There are Trusts for Ulster, the Isle of Man, Alderney and the Isles of Scilly and 36 Trusts across England, largely based on the old county boundaries or small groupings of such counties.

The Wildlife Trusts have a long history of delivering innovative, sustainable freshwater and wetlands projects, working closely with partners and empowering communities to improve their local area. Wildlife Trusts are involved with 96% of local river catchment partnerships.


Wildlife Trusts’ water vole projects

The water vole has suffered greatly in the UK over the last few decades as a result of loss of habitat and predation by the American mink.  Projects led by The Wildlife Trusts, from Essex to North Wales to Yorkshire, are working hard to help the water vole thrive once again.


Ythan Project




The Ythan Project was a partnership project which aimed to protect, restore and enhance the river Ythan in Aberdeenshire. The project had three main aims:

  • to include local people in the work being undertaken and the decisions being made.
  • to undertake restoration work to improve the river environment at key locations.
  • to work with farmers on river-related issues.


The project was part-funded by the European Commission's Life Environment and also by the various organisations involved in the project, which included:

The project was funded from August 2001 to February 2005. River restoration work has been undertaken at various locations around the river catchment area, and has included:

  • the creation of a spawning bed for sea trout
  • the removal of over-shadowing conifer trees
  • the planting of broad-leaved trees at a number of river-side locations

Software has been produced to assist local farmers in undertaking nutrient budgets on their farms, and farmers have also been given advice and assistance with applying to agri-environment schemes.
Local people were involved in many aspects of the project. Awareness raising and education were important.

Aberdeenshire Council was responsible for:

  • helping with the administration of the project
  • helping with the management of the project's finances
  • providing advice on some of the environmental issues the project covers
  • providing advice on flood prevention issues

Natural Course Project: Our Water: Our Future

Natural Course is an EU funded LIFE Integrated Project that aims to build capacity to protect and improve the water environment in the North West River Basin District over a 10-year programme of work. The Irwell catchment is the main focus of the project in the Greater Manchester area during the first phase of the project.


Irwell Evidence and Measures Study – July 2017

The Evidence & Measures study provides a resource to the Irwell catchment partnership and will support the production of the catchment management plan. It has a clear focus on water quality issues and achieving WFD objectives.


Irwell Catchment Partnership Evidence Review Tool – A Natural Course Story Map   -July 2018

A catchment ‘story map’ tool has been developed through Natural Course by GIS experts within The Rivers Trust, who worked closely with the Irwell Catchment Partnership and its host organisation, Groundwork MSSTT. This tool has been designed to support the Irwell Catchment Partnership's integrated catchment planning process of reviewing evidence and turning this in to a funded action plan.



Partnerships for action in river catchment governance: A case study in the Irwell, UK – May 2018

This report from the Open University reviews the current thinking and practices in relation to the catchment-based approach and the roles of the Natural Course Project and the Irwell Catchment Partnership.





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