The Mease catchment is a highly productive and diverse farming landscape. The designation of the River Mease as a SSSI/SAC brings about additional considerations and regulations when farming within the Mease, it also brings with it a variety of different funding options to invest in farm infrastructure and land management across the catchment.

Advice to farmers is freely available through a number of sources such as Catchment Sensitive Farming, the Farming Facilitation fund and the River Mease Partnership project to help navigate the restrictions and available funding.

Phosphate levels and nutrient neutrality through reducing run off have been a priority for advice, funding and project delivery over the years with the phosphate levels in the river being higher than regulation standard. Additional areas that have received increased prioritisation and funding recently are water resilience, biodiversity net gain and carbon storage.

Building Water Resilience

Farmers are a vital part of our economy, providing jobs for people in rural communities and food for our tables. Farmers also play a critical role in protecting our environment and helping to tackle climate change by locking carbon into soils.

We know that many farmers work really hard to protect and improve the environment. This is vital as 70% of land in England is used for agriculture and the role that farmers play makes a real difference.

With climate changes bringing more extreme weather including flooding and droughts, water resources on farms are increasingly at risk. Across the UK there is a need to improve farm resilience to drought and improved planning of on farm water storage and use.

A good understanding of water use and efficiency measures is key to sustainable farming in the future.

Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF)

CSF aims to raise awareness about diffuse water pollution from agriculture and water resourcing. CSF work with the farming community to tackle these environmental challenges by encouraging changes in farming practices to help achieve healthy and robust river systems for the whole community.

Your Catchment Sensitive Farming Adviser (CSFA) is locally based with an understanding of the challenges farmers face. They can work with you to take advantage of the latest advice and tailor it to best benefit your business.

Support could include:

  • Providing training and information, about sustainable water sourcing, storage and use.
  • Helping you to identify water resource risks both now and, in the future.
  • Making recommendations on water storage and harvesting facilities.
  • Highlighting good practice in sustainable water sourcing, storage, management, and use.
  • Providing estimations of the costs and benefits for water resource options.
  • Advice about farm infrastructure audits, soil and nutrient management plans, slurry and manure storage and handling.

Capital grants are available through the Countryside Stewardship Scheme and include a range of options within the water quality package.

Watch this video and find out how farmers like you can get the help you need:

Since 2006, CSF has worked with over 24,000 farms and helped farmers take more than 80,000 positive actions to reduce pollution.

  • 34% of total farmed area in England managed by CSF-engaged farmers.
  • 83% of farmers who had contact with their CSFA agreed they were a person whose advice they could trust.

Farmers are arranging the visits they need, and diaries can get busy.

If you would like to be contracted by your local CSFA, please e-mail [email protected], with your county parish holding number or single business identifier and ask to be contacted.

CSF will reply based on the environmental priorities in your area and will either:

  • arrange a one-to-one consultation with your local CSFA within an agreed timeframe
  • link to other sources of advice and information

You can visit for more information about Catchment Sensitive Farming

Funding for Farmers

There is a wide variety of funding opportunities for farmers.

To find out more and apply visit Funding for Farmers.
You can also contact Catchment Sensitive Farming for help and support.

Grants are available for rainwater harvesting through the Countrywide Stewardship Fund.

Watch the video on how to apply online through the Rural Payments Agency.

Water Resource Options

Rainwater harvesting is an efficient way to source water.

Harvested rainwater is water that is:

  • collected from roofs and other above ground surfaces
  • collected via a system of above ground pipes and tanks
  • isolated from inland waters or groundwater

Watch how another farmer benefited from rainwater harvesting.

Reservoirs can provide security and flexibility by enabling you to balance water supply with demand. You can abstract water when it is readily available and store it for the times when you need it.

Read this blog by the Countrywide Land Association about reservoirs.

The UK Irrigation Association aims to ‘promote interest in, and better understanding of, all aspects of irrigation in the UK. Collect, exchange and disseminate information, and raise standards, increase knowledge and competence in irrigation design, installation & management.’

There are leaflets available that contain useful information:

Working together to protect water rights.
Thinking about an irrigation reservoir.

You can also check Reservoirs: owner and operator requirements.

Farming Facilitation Group

Farmer Facilitation Groups bring farmers together to improve the natural environment at a landscape scale rather than farm scale. The landscape scale approach achieves greater improvements than individual holdings can achieve on their own.

The Mease facilitation group has been running since 2018. The group holds regular meetings, training events and workshops where farmers are invited to hear about a variety of topics from soil management to funding opportunities – often inviting experts in their fields to talk or deliver workshops. The current themes the Farming Facilitation Group is based on are water resourcing, carbon storage and net zero and reducing phosphate run off.

If you are interested in joining or for more information, please contact us.

Watch this video Improving Nutrient Use Efficiency – YouTube

Manage Your Abstraction Licence Online

Licence holders can now get water abstraction alerts by email. The Environment Agency send water abstraction alerts to licence holders with ‘hands-off’ conditions when:

  • a restriction is likely to come into force
  • they have put a restriction in place
  • abstraction can begin again

They can send email alerts more quickly than postal alerts. This means licence holders and operators:

  • are better able to prepare for any disruption to abstracting
  • can quickly start taking water again once river flows or groundwater water levels have recovered

Create an account today

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