BRICs

Building Resilience Into Catchments

Is a research project that is taking an innovative approach to managing natural resources in the area, benefitting both communities and businesses in the locality.

It will:

  • Improve water, nutrient and habitat management on farms
  • Reduce the level of nutrients entering the Milford Haven Waterway
  • Create a nutrient trading scheme
  • Give potential for future investment opportunities in Pembrokeshire

BRICs will achieve this by:

  • Providing expert advice, guidance and support to farmers
  • Delivering Farm Resilience Plans (for up to 50 farms)
  • Offering 50% funding towards nutrient soil mapping, precision farming and up to 10 constructed wetlands
  • Developing a framework for creating an enterprise capable of running a nutrient based trading scheme that is able to:
    • pay land managers for undertaking actions that benefit the natural environment beyond regulatory requirement and
    • secure sustainable economic development and future investment opportunities

Why are we doing this?

The water in the Milford Haven Waterway and the surrounding Pembrokeshire Marine Special Area of Conservation contains too much nitrogen and phosphorus. This means it fails to meet statutory water quality standards and the nutrient enrichment threatens important and protected wildlife and their habitats.

It also means that the waterway is considered “full” with no capacity to accept any additional input of nutrients, which is a potential barrier to any future development.

The BRICs approach is about preventing pollution from getting into watercourses rather than relying on ‘end of pipe’ solutions, like water treatment, while delivering other benefits for the economy and environment.

BRICs takes a wider view of the environment and considers relationships between the environment and the people managing it.  This is an example of Sustainable Management of Natural Resources (SMNR).   Building resilience into catchments and the way they are managed means they will be better able to stand the effects of a changing climate and increased pressure and demands on land and river management.

The project will benefit farms, economically as well as environmentally, creating a business leader culture.

How will we know if it is working?

We believe that farmers deserve credit for doing good things.  A lot of small actions can add up to a big difference.

One of the project partners, RDK ADAS, will use their decision support software tool called “Farmscoper”, to quantify the reduction in diffuse pollutant losses from farms that are taking part in the project. We will also model potential additional reductions in pollutant losses that could be achieved by undertaking further actions that go over and above regulatory requirements.  Setting up a nutrient trading scheme provides a mechanism for Land managers to be paid for land management practices that deliver additional environmental benefit.

Where will it be happening?

We are focussing on three areas across Pembrokeshire:

  • Pelcomb Brook
  • Winterton Marsh, and
  • Llys y Fran

Working in these 3 diverse river sub-catchments, the project will test a voluntary approach to deliver Farm Resilience Plans, highlighting opportunities and recommending actions to improve water and soil management, habitats and wildlife on farms.

Who is involved?

The project partners include supply chain, land managers, industry, conservation organisations, farming unions, Welsh Water, farming cooperatives, authorities, Natural Resources Wales and communities working together to build resilience into farm businesses.  At the same time, the project will be contributing to sustainable economic development.

BRICs was developed and is funded through the Sustainable Management Scheme which is part of the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.

How do I find out more?

If you are a farmer or land owner in one of the sub-catchments listed above and want to find out more, please get in touch with Emma Taylor, BRICs Project Officer on 01834 860965 or emmat@planed.org.uk.

If you are interested or think you may like to participate in a nutrient trading scheme, please contact Paul Renfro, BRICs Project Officer on 01646 405693 or paul.renfro@pembrokeshirecoastalforum.org.uk