Farmers funded to improve rivers

Image: Byron H on Unsplash

Nine thousand farmers in the UK are being offered funding to encourage environmentally friendly farming practices.

Water utility Severn Trent is offering match funding of up to £30,000 to farmers in their region to to help protect water quality as part of its Get River Positive commitment to protect rivers and the environment. The new package aims to encourage regenerative farming practices - a conservation and rehabilitation led approach that includes improving water resources, soils and biodiversity.

According to the UK parliament's Environmental Audit Committee, only 14% of English rivers meet good ecological status, with pollution from agriculture, sewage, roads and single-use plastics contributing to a dangerous ‘chemical cocktail’ coursing through waterways.

“Agriculture and land management are the biggest contributors to rivers not achieving good ecological status."

Liv Garfield, Severn Trent

“Funding for investments to improve water quality, tree planting and provision of green financing will be made available to incentivise regenerative farming practices," said Severn Trent chief executive Liv Garfield.

“Agriculture and land management are the biggest contributors to rivers not achieving good ecological status. As such, we are redoubling our efforts to help farmers have more resources and financial support to care for rivers.

"We’re investing £100m a year as part of our Get River Positive commitments to go even further in improving rivers so that nature can continue to thrive. One of our five Get River Positive pledges is to support others to improve and care for rivers."

Warwickshire based farm manager, Martin Downes, explains that he has been working with the company for several years, “I’m already using regenerative methods, but with the right funding in place, I’d definitely consider turning more of our conventional practices to regenerative alternatives.

"I’m looking forward to understanding how the new package will continue to support our farming business.”