Defining a Future for Yorkshire Farming

The iCASP Public Goods Project has produced some resources which will be showcased at the Defining a Future for Yorkshire Farming today (Nov 15th 2018).

The one day conference hosted by the Yorkshire Food farming and Rural Network is expecting Secretary of State, Michael Gove, to attend as keynote speaker.

The National Farmers’ Union, one of iCASP’s partners, have been taking a keen interest in the publications which are based on a rapid review of the academic evidence for agricultural land management options linked to improving soil health.

Healthy soil can help to mitigate flood risk, increase crop productivity and store more carbon. These benefits are becoming known as public goods and their delivery is key to the new Environmental Land Management Scheme which Defra is developing.

The evidence that iCASP reviewed found that conservation tillage, the addition of organic amendments, introduction of grass-clover leys into arable rotations, and conversion of arable land to woodland can all enhance soil health. If you want to find out more, the publications are available on the iCASP Public Goods Resources page.

 

 

Turning Yorkshire Green Blue

Green walls and water feature to enhance property value

A new iCASP partnership is forming to dissolve the barriers which prevent investment in natural landscaping in urban areas. Natural landscape features such as ponds, rows of trees, roofs or walls planted with greenery are just a few common examples of what is described as Green Blue Infrastructure (GBI).

In spite of its benefits, which include natural cooling, improving air quality, providing wildlife habitats and making urban areas more attractive, planners struggle to make a persuasive business case for GBI investment.

Now a strong multi-disciplinary team in partnership with stakeholders in Leeds City region and West Yorkshire are determined to lead the way in improving cost-benefit analysis and valuation of Green Blue Infrastructure. They want to bring HM Treasury on board too!

Read moreTurning Yorkshire Green Blue

Prioritising Natural Flood Management interventions in Calderdale

Photo Courtesy: Slow the Flow

A rainfall-runoff model developed at the University of Leeds is the latest weapon in Calderdale’s efforts to prevent future flooding in the valley. SD-TOPMODEL is currently the only tool able to model the flow of water from hillslopes to the river at a sufficient spatial scale to allow Natural Flood Management (NFM) interventions and land management to be represented accurately for the characteristics of the Calderdale catchment.

An iCASP project using SD-TOPMODEL and starting in November 2018 will contribute to the Calderdale Flood Action Plan by helping to prioritise the siting of future NFM schemes.

Read morePrioritising Natural Flood Management interventions in Calderdale

UKCP18 Regional Forum

The UKCP18 Regional User Forum will use the release of the updated UK Climate Projections 18 as an opportunity to bring together different sectors of the regional economy to ensure that the latest knowledge is embedded in catchment management decisions. The afternoon event in Leeds on March 8th 2019 will be designed for organisations who need to use UK climate projections for resilience planning and long-term business strategies.

IF INTERESTED, Quick email to:  icasp@leeds.ac.uk

 

Read moreUKCP18 Regional Forum

Better land management for a multifunctional landscape

Credit: DCRT

The latest iCASP Project will help advise the Don Catchment Rivers Trust on their Hidden Heritage Secret Streams project. This is based on the Upper Rother Catchment, a tributary of the River Don. One of the aims of the project is to improve the way land is managed so that it provides both social and heritage benefits.

Volunteers will be recruited to put in place small and simple changes to reduce river pollution from different sources, slow the rate at which water flows down the river, and make it easier for different species to flourish by ensuring suitable habitats are connected up in the landscape.

At the moment, it’s difficult to prioritise what should be done because there isn’t enough available information on the different options and whether they can be carried out by volunteers. This is where iCASP can add most value.

Read moreBetter land management for a multifunctional landscape

Bricks and Water

A new report, Bricks and Water, which iCASP helped to inform, has been published by the Westminster Sustainable Business Forum, an off shoot of Policy Connect.

It sets out an action plan for better management of water to deliver water-efficient homes at volume, that are resilient to flooding and calls for a ‘Bricks and Water’ sustainability code with a change in building regulations to provide a stable long-term planning framework.

Read moreBricks and Water

Eyeing up our rivers

Photo courtesy: Sheila Palmer, University of Leeds

The latest iCASP Project, The Derwent Data Finder, will  explore whether a collaborative monitoring system could help the Environment Agency to reduce costs and to gather more information. The Environment Agency currently spends 60 million pounds a year gathering information on the state of the water environment to meet regulatory requirements.

However, many other organisations, including iCASP partners and universities, also collect relevant data which if shared might fill existing knowledge gaps and prevent duplication.

Read moreEyeing up our rivers

Managing land more beneficially

Photo Credit: Les Firbank

Leaving the EU gives the UK an opportunity to rethink farm subsidies. The government is currently exploring how to incentivise farmers and land owners to improve water quality, soil health  and flood protection. This is where iCASP can help. The Agri-Land Management for Public Goods Delivery Project is going to review and consolidate the evidence on land management interventions which generate a wide range of public goods.

The Review will focus on a selection of land management activities currently undertaken in the River Ouse drainage basin area of Yorkshire, including those supported through Countryside Stewardship.

Read moreManaging land more beneficially

Looking into nitrate pollution

Water companies spend millions of pounds a year removing harmful nitrates from drinking water and the problem seems to be getting worse. Most of this pollution relates to agriculture, so various incentive schemes to stop nitrates getting in to water have been trialled with farmers. However, the effectiveness of such schemes and the resultant reduction in nitrate pollution needs to be better understood at catchment scale.

This is one of the challenges that the Yorkshire Integrated Catchment Solutions Programme (iCASP) is seeking to address, so iCASP has been submitting evidence to an Environmental Audit Committee inquiry into Nitrates.

This Summer, iCASP will be publishing a review of what we know about how agricultural land can be managed to deliver a range of public goods including a reduction in nitrate pollution as phase one of a new iCASP project. The review will be a useful source of information to inform the government’s approach to nitrate regulation and management.

Do we need to change #InvasivesWeek to #InvasivesFortnight if you are doing highlights next week!? New activity on… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…

RT @Nat_Cap_Com: The government's response to the Natural Capital Committee's sixth annual report was published yesterday. Read it h… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…

Click to check out Defra's progress on their 25-year Environment Plan assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/upl…