Facilitating Engagement on Natural Flood Management
Countryside Stewardship Facilitation Fund Groups
Following the flooding from Storm Desmond in December 2015, the Farmer Network applied to the Countryside Stewardship Facilitation Fund to operate 3 farmer/landowner groups looking at Natural Flood Management measures in the Swaledale catchment in the Yorkshire Dales and in the Glenderamackin and Roe and Ive catchments in Cumbria.
These groups have been running since April 2017 with funding paying for a facilitator – Carol Moffat in Swaledale and Paul Arkle in the Cumbrian catchments – to organise meetings and training events on the theme of Natural Flood Management. This funding is for three years and the groups will operate until the end of March 2020. Farmers within the groups benefit not only from the information provided at the meetings but also from a 20% uplift in points when they apply to Stewardship.
Engagement with Farmers on Natural Flood Management
To enable engagement in other areas, the Farmer Network applied to the Cumbria Community Foundation flood recovery fund for a grant to fund events about Natural Flood Management with farmers throughout Cumbria. This project is also about improving communications between farmers and the different agencies and organisations involved in catchment management.
In January 2018, we organised an open meeting for farmers at Carlisle with speakers from the Environment Agency, the County Council, the Rivers Trust and Natural England along with Rory Stewart MP in his role as Cumbria Floods Envoy. This was to enable farmers to constructively discuss their concerns about catchment management and to understand more about what actions have been taken since Storm Desmond.
Engagement meetings for farmers are also being organised in specific catchments where Natural Flood Management has been identified as one of the measures that might help reduce the risk of future flooding. These include the area around Flimby in West Cumbria, the River Annas catchment above Bootle, and the Stockbeck catchment at Kendal. We have also funded soil management events for farmers in Patterdale with similar events planned for the Matterdale and Dockray areas.
The North West Natural Flood Management handbook provides practical advice on all the different ways land management can help reduce flood risk and how these fit into farm businesses.
This project is supported by the Cumbria Community Foundation Flood Recovery Fund.