The National Trust (NT) are one of the largest land owners in the UK, and around 40% of land in the UK drains into a watercourse which runs through a NT property. The Trust recognises it has a responsibility to restore environments to healthy, beautiful and well-functioning status as well as ensuring their ongoing management methods and practices maintain that status. They’re not just seeking to help store carbon, reduce flooding and restore soil health, but do this whilst also ensuring the land they own remains beneficial to wildlife and people.
Collaborating with Water@Leeds will enable the Trust to feed into the latest research and development activities which in turn could increase the implementation of evidence-based management decisions across their properties. Collaborating with the Trust provides opportunities for researchers to trial innovative new activities in real world settings and access a wealth of information from those who live on and manage the land. iCASP can help to facilitate this collaboration by identifying the priorities of the National Trust and translating Water@Leeds research to help answer key questions to the challenges faced.
The meeting considered several ways of working together; from PhD studentships to research grants and fellowships. Possible collaborations were identified across a range of topics including water quality, habitat management and biodiversity enhancement, natural flood management and carbon management. These themes cut across a variety of catchments where both the Trust and University of Leeds researchers work.
The National Trust are already project partners on the iCASP Payment for Outcomes project that is seeking to include natural flood management (NFM) in the Trust’s Payment for Outcomes pilot. In turn the Trust’s pilot will inform Defra’s new Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS) and how a range of different measures to improve environmental outcomes can be included and paid for. The iCASP project focuses on several of the Trust’s tenanted farms and aims to identify which NFM interventions are most suited to the farms and surrounding land, and pay farmers and land managers for the work they undertake to achieve these improvements.
We hope to build on the partnership working already underway and facilitate more collaboration in the future to benefit the beautiful places owned and managed by the Trust for the benefit of us all.
Additional links that may be of interest: