The Tidal Ribble Project is a partnership between United Utilities,the Environment Agency, Catchment Sensitive Farming, the NFU and Blackpool Borough Council working alongside the Ribble Rivers Trust.
Set up in 2015 this project aims to work with farmers and rural communities to protect vulnerable bathing waters and shellfish waters along the Fylde coast which are being impacted upon by the Ribble estuary.
Research has identified that the main impact on the water quality is faecal matter from both urban and rural sources entering the watercourses with diffuse pollution from agriculture and discharges from private septic tanks being identified as the main contributors to this issue.
Based on this knowledge a group of 20 farmers in the area have been visited and plans have been made to carry out works such as watercourse fencing, drainage improvements and improvements to slurry stores have been made which will benefit the water quality whilst being compatible with the farm business.
Locations where dwellings are likely to have septic tanks and other private water treatment facilities have also been identified and a targeted campaign has been created in order to help people within these communities better understand how their systems work, how they can be maintained and what the consequences can be when these systems fail.
Throughout the life of this project water samples will be taken to assess faecal matter inputs and too see how well the project is performing. Delivery has already commenced and aims to be completed by 2018 with help from United Utilities and Countryside Stewardship grants.