Mini projects

Not all of our projects take place over a long period of time, involve lots of partners or have multiple work packages; sometimes they are time critical and focused on one objective only. Our mini-projects are usually carried out over just a few days, typically address one specific question and can be the starting point or basis for other work (that may or may not be carried out by iCASP). These mini projects are summarised below and their outputs and impacts can be seen in the resources section once they are complete.

Water Efficiency standards briefing for Leeds City Council

Pressures on our water system continue to grow across the catchment. Combined with climate change impacts on future availability and supply, more housing development could mean more consumption and so increased pressure on existing water resources.

This project will help Leeds City Council’s efforts to encourage less treated-water usage in new residential development: in 2019 Leeds City Council will be revising its Core Strategy 2014 for future housing. It is timely to assess whether tighter water standards on residential developments is feasible and can be incorporated into the strategy.

Academics at Leeds and Sheffield will be consulted to distil the latest evidence on water availability and usage into an accessible policy brief to support Leeds City Council in setting a reasonable water efficiency standard for new homes.The evidence will be equally applicable to other local authorities in the region as they update policies too.

Project number: 12

Outputs: available from the Water efficiency for local authorities project resources section of the Resources and Publications area of the website

Common standards monitoring

Defra and Natural England have launched the England Peat Pilots and this project will contribute to that work. iCASP will be supporting  Newcastle University who are leading this project to transform data collection for evidence-based peatland policy and practice by identifying and selecting core sets of outcome measures that can be included in peatland research and monitoring data collection.

Previous work led by Newcastle University with inputs from iCASP identified climatic, hydrological and biodiversity-related measures for blanket bogs and fens; these are now being prioritised by the peatland community. This project will build upon that work to prioritise the core outcomes that are most relevant to the assessment of peatland condition at the five pilot sites.

Project number: 21

Outputs: will be available from the Publications and Resources section of the website when they have been completed

River Aire plastics capture

iCASP will carry out a review of the current literature to identify existing methods for capturing macro plastics to contribute to a proposed future project to reduce the macro plastic waste in the River Aire.

Macro plastics, such as bottles, traffic cones and plastic bags are not only unsightly and detract from the social and economic value of the local environment, but they can also trap and harm wildlife and as they degrade over time will eventually become micro-plastics small enough to be ingested by invertebrates and so enter the food chain.

This mini-project will provide background knowledge for a proposed partnership project that the University of Leeds Sustainability Team, Canal and Rivers Trust, Yorkshire Water and Aire Rivers Trust are developing. Better understanding of existing methods of plastic capture will allow an assessment of whether existing science can meet the challenge and if so how it can be scaled up and applied more widely.

Project number: 23

Outputs: available from the River Aire plastics capture project resources section in the Resources and Publications area of the website

National Trust payment for outcomes test

The National Trust payment for outcomes test project is part of the Tests and Trials phase of the new Environmental Land Management Scheme and builds on the National Trust-funded Payment for Outcomes project in the Yorkshire Dales working with the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority.

iCASP are providing advice and guidance through attendance at workshops with practitioners, land managers and strategy-minded people to have an open discussion about the work that has taken place on these topics to date, to capture ideas for alternative measures and to consider the scale and feasibility of a whole farm approach.

Project number: 14a

Outputs: will be available from the Resources and Publications section of the website when they have been completed

Ryevitalised interactive catchment solutions (support for Ryevitalise Scheme)

Ryevitalise is a £3.4 million Landscape Partnership Scheme supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and delivered by the North York Moors National Park Authority with support from partners including the Environment Agency and Natural England.

iCASP are providing support to this scheme by providing robust evidence drawn from several previous and existing iCASP projects. The projects of particular relevance include Invasive Non Native Species (INNS), the Derwent Data Finder and Natural Flood Management (NFM).

It will also draw upon Dr Janet Richardson’s Industrial Mobility Fellowship with Yorkshire Water on diffuse pollution erosion risk and sediment fingerprinting in the River Derwent catchment. A key output of the Fellowship transferred to the Ryevitalise scheme is GIS layers of high resolution erosion risk incorporating seasonal variation, climate change and artificial drainage. Further sediment fingerprinting data and lessons learnt in the catchment area will be used to inform future work. The various outputs of all these projects, and other learning across the suite of iCASP projects, will inform the delivery of the Ryevitalise Scheme and its various themes, as well as influencing the allocation of funding until 2023.

Project number: 27

Outputs: are available from the Ryevitalise project resources page on the Resources and Publications section of the website

River Skell monitoring

A short-term opportunity, supporting work on the River Skell, has arisen to build upon the existing Payment for Outcomes (PfO) project and to link in outputs from several iCASP Natural Flood Management (NFM) projects (eg Calderdale NFM and NFM). There is a need to devise a system to financially reward land managers for installing and maintaining NFM Measures and integrating them into revised farm business plans in order to reduce sediment loads in the river and its tributaries and alleviate flood risk.

iCASP will be supporting the National Heritage Lottery Fund (NHLF)  bid for work in the River Skell through analysing existing data to form a robust baseline  against which the effect of farm-scale interventions can be measured. This will also allow iCASP to highlight data gaps and recommend future monitoring. Opportunity maps will be produced to prioritise areas for NFM intervention. Finally iCASP will make recommendations for principles for a payment by results scheme in the area. If successful in achieving NHLF funding, this work will have a significant impact on the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Fountains Abbey and could influence government policy on the replacement for the rural payments scheme.

Project number: 28

Outputs: will be available from the Resources and Publications section of the website when they have been completed

Supporting the North York Moors peat pilot

iCASP are supporting Natural England with the North York Moors Peat PilotiCASP will draw on experience and expertise in this field, in particular the development of iCASP’s User Guide for Valuing the Benefits of Peatland Restoration and the associated DigiBog_Hydro model.

The pilot will evidence and evaluate how effective different potential forms of habitat restoration, modification and management might be in creating resilient peatland habitats in the face of increasing climate stress. The potential public benefits and ecosystem services will be considered against the extent and condition of the peatland, the different types of habitat restoration and their feasibility.

iCASP have provided academic time to review and inform the direction of the scope of the work and will continue to provide advice to Natural England as the pilot is developed and delivered.

This work will feed in to Defra’s England Peat Strategy due to be published in the future.

Project number: 29

Outputs: will be available from the Resources and Publications section of the website when they have been completed

Deliberative monetary valuation protocol

Building on the User Guide, produced as part of the Optimal Peatland Restoration project, this project will develop a simple, cost-effective, replicable and transferable protocol for the deliberative monetary valuation method. The protocol will enable peatland practitioners to carry out valuation of the non-marketed benefits provided by peatland restoration with a diverse range of participants. It will provide a practical means of valuing peatland’s social benefits for national and international projects, supplementing the limited available evidence, and fostering exchanges among communities on the value they attribute to peatlands. The valuation protocol will be aimed at peatland and environmental practitioners who can increase their understanding of public perception of peatland benefits and gather evidence to inform landowners, policy-makers and funders, on the need for continued investment and appropriate management of peatlands. Adopting and implementing the protocol will increase practitioners’ capacity to apply a valuation method, adjust awareness campaigns to maximise impact and lead to support for continued investment in restoration, provide insights that can help inform policy, and facilitate exchanges between stakeholders who do not commonly interact together.

Partners in this project are University of Leeds and Yorkshire Wildlife Trust

Project number: 30

Outputs: are available from the Deliberative Monetary Valuation resources area of the Resources and Publications section of the website once they have been completed

Exploring ecosystem markets and public-private partnerships for the delivery of ecosystem services in the UK

This project will produce a co-authored report between iCASP and Resilient Dairy Landscapes exploring a sample of the public-private partnerships that exist for the financing of ecosystem services in the UK. Many schemes are in the theoretical stages of development, or in the early stages of developing trades (i.e. NIS and LENs); however, in the UK there are a growing number of public-private partnerships increasing the scale and scope of the ecosystem services market.

The project will explore the voluntary ecosystem services market in the UK by understanding UK payment for ecosystem services schemes and the role of trading platforms and modellers, and developing an understanding of how these actors operate while identifying possible synergies and examples of good practice and challenges to implementation. It will focus specifically on understanding the social distribution of ecosystem services, how values are attributed to ecosystem services and legal obligations or challenges surrounding the implementation of the schemes. An online review of the UK’s ecosystem services market will be carried out to identify UK public-private schemes and partnerships, as well as platforms and modellers that facilitate the delivery of, and act as a driver of, the UK’s voluntary ecosystem services market.  In-depth interviews will be conducted with four ecosystem services schemes (the Woodland Carbon Code, the Peatland Code, Landscape Enterprise Networks and the Natural), trading platform EnTrade and biophysical modellers, Viridian Logic.

Outputs: will be available from the Exploring ecosystems markets project resources area of the Resources and Publications section of the website when they have been completed