Catch up on what iCASP projects are up to and hear about events and resources of interest from our quarterly newsletter.
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An iCASP workshop aims to kick start an integrated catchment approach to reducing nitrogen pollution from farming. But as most excess nitrogen comes from agricultural activities, improvements will only happen if enough farmers get on board, so a quick Have Your say questionnaire is available for farmers to influence the workshop even if they can’t come along. (Please feel free to forward this item if you know a farmer willing to share their experience)
High volumes of nitrogen in the water or in the air are harmful to human health, but most efforts to reduce them focus on a single impact or activity such as slurry spreading. An iCASP project, if designed well with input from farmers, researchers, Defra teams and regulators, could bring about a new approach with benefits for farm businesses and the environment.
Hard pressed local authorities in Yorkshire are to get some support from iCASP in dealing with the spread of watery invaders such as Giant Hogweed, a plant that causes long-term skin burning.
Last year’s costs for removing Giant Hogweed and Japanese Knotweed from the Rivers Aire and Don was over a hundred thousand pounds. Although Yorkshire is currently largely free of Floating Pennywort, which clogs up waterways, costs of large infestations are huge. Once widespread it becomes almost impossible to eradicate this invasive species, resulting in spiralling annual costs of treatment. A new iCASP project will therefore help authorities to act now to prevent any spread.
A group of farmers are at the heart of an iCASP project which will be supporting the trial of a new national scheme for paying land managers to deliver benefits such as healthy soil or an increase in bees and other pollinators. The National Trust and Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority are running a ‘Payment for Outcomes’ trial with a group of tenant farmers in the Yorkshire Dales which will help to test the feasibility of Defra’s new Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS).
A group of iCASP researchers is helping to make developments in Leeds more sustainable. They’ve been using their expertise to pull together the evidence for a water saving policy.
Planners at Leeds City Council are looking to adopt an enhanced 110 litres a day water efficiency standard for new homes, and need reliable and robust evidence to support the decision and make the case more widely.
Although 110 litres a day is recognised as a sound benchmark, the brief suggests that an even more ambitious target could be achievable.
The advice to Leeds City Council Planners is presented as a Policy Brief which has been well received.
As the brief might be helpful to other councils, it is available to download from the Resources section of the iCASP website.
Following his presentation at the launch of the UK Climate Projections (UKCP18) in November, iCASP’s Ben Rabb, was interviewed on Radio Leeds for the regional Paul Hudson Weather Show.
Ben was able to explain how different types of flooding: coastal, fluvial (from rivers) and surface water caused by heavy rainfall are more likely to strike low lying areas such as Hull.
He also touched on the current drought that Yorkshire Water has declared and reminded residents of York and Leeds of all the flood alleviation work that is aiming to protect homes and businesses.
You can hear Ben on the online BBC Weather Show catch-up page at 31′ 27″ into the show.
A new brochure which gives a brief introduction to projects launched by the Yorkshire Integrated Catchment Solutions Programme (iCASP) is available to download as a pdf.
Written in a style accessible to a non specialist audience, each project page outlines the focus of the project, lists the main organisations involved and how long the project will be active. Pages can be added when new projects start.
The iCASP team are very grateful to all the partners who have kindly contributed illustrations for the brochure; the use of photographs brings the publication to life.
The brochure will hopefully be used by partners in the programme to communicate what iCASP is doing and how they are involved.
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.
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!
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.