The Tidal Ribble area is a unique landscape characterised by large spreads of urban areas and agricultural land, both of which have significant impacts on the quality of water in our rivers and streams, as well as at the coast. The project looks at working with farmers and communities to try to reduce the amount of pollution entering our watercourses, with work carried out in partnership with United Utilities, the Environment Agency, Catchment Sensitive Farming, the NFU and Blackpool Borough Council.
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.
Since the project began, we have worked with 20 farms to implement schemes to reduce the amount of pollution coming from agricultural land. This work includes fencing off watercourses to prevent livestock accessing the water, planting trees along riverbanks to intercept run-off, and improving farmyard infrastructure, this has all helped to reduce the amount of faecal matter, chemicals and sediment end up in our rivers and along our beaches.
In addition to this we have delivered 36 community events and worked with 17 schools in the area, promoting ways for the public to be more water friendly around the home by raising awareness of the impacts of household waste water mismanagement and waste disposal.
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.