Working Groups

There are a number of Working Groups underpinning the work of the National Steering Group and National Support Team, who each focus on a particular issue, such as Data and Evidence, Urban Water Management, Agriculture and Abstraction.

Currently, we have the following active Working Groups:

  • Catchment Data User Group
  • Urban Working Group
  • Biodiversity Working Group
  • Benefits Working Group
  • Abstraction Working Group
  • Agriculture Working Group
  • Flood Working Group
  • Estuaries and Coasts Working Group

If you would like to join one of our working groups, please get in touch.

Find out what our working groups are all about below:

Catchment Data User Group

The Catchment Data User Group (CDUG) plays a critical role in providing ‘open’ data, information and evidence to catchment partnerships nationwide, enabling them to determine priorities for action, identify cost-effective interventions and develop robust high-quality catchment plans.

In addition to the release of a range of support tools, CDUG has distributed the CaBA data package, encompassing more than 150 GIS data layers, to all partnerships, and has published many of these as online Open Data services for use in web GIS. The work of CDUG is closely aligned to that of the mentoring (capacity building) team.

The Catchment Data & Evidence FORUM is an annual event which aims to bring together the widest possible community of practitioners and identify the key barriers and opportunities that CDUG should focus on.

If you are interested in joining Catchment Data User Group please contact Michelle Walker.

Michelle Walker - The Rivers Trust

Michelle Walker, CDUG Working Group Co-Chair

Michelle manages the data and evidence workstream of the Catchment-Based Approach support programme, providing technical tools, support and guidance to CaBA partnerships on all aspects of developing an evidence-based catchment plan. Michelle leads the Catchment Data User Group.

Follow Michelle on Twitter

Tamsin Appleton, CDUG Working Group Co-Chair

Tamsin works for the Environment Agency, in a data assessment and reporting team within Research, Analysis and Evaluation.

Urban Water Group

The CaBA Urban Water Group (CUWG) champions a collaborative, partnership approach to urban water management, engaging and raising awareness across a range of key stakeholders to drive improvements to water quality and biodiversity, reduce flood risk, enhance health and well-being and build community cohesion.

The CUWG supports CaBA partnerships nationwide by helping them to build capacity and expertise and to engage more effectively with key stakeholders, including local authorities, communities, businesses and developers, on urban water management issues, driving collaborative delivery on the ground. CUWG is helping to drive the delivery of urban water management under the Government’s 25-year Environment Plan, including through the promotion of green-blue infrastructure and the multiple benefits that can be realised.

The group is chaired by Peter Bide (formerly of DGLC) with a membership encompassing Environmental NGOs (Rivers Trusts, Groundwork, Wildfowl and Wetland Trust), Environment Agency, Natural England, Local Government and CIRIA.



The group frequently runs workshops to bring together key players in the urban water management sector to explain the multiple benefits of an integrated and collaborative approach to urban water management and showcase examples of its successful implementation.  The CUWG also works closely with the Local Action Project that seeks to enhance the natural capital in our towns and cities to improve people’s lives, the environment and economic prosperity.

In addition to producing guidance championing collaborative Urban Water Management, CUWG has also supported the production of the Lewisham Council led guidance note for planners and contributed to the University of Cambridge ‘Planning Advice for Integrated Water Management’ authored by Peter Bide. Additionally, the group has supported the publication of a guide for catchment partnerships seeking funding for urban delivery projects.

The Urban Working Group includes representatives from the Environment Agency, Thames21, Thames Water, Imperial Collage, The Rivers Trust, South East Rivers Trust, Northumbrian Rivers Trust, Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, Somerset County Council, Westcountry Rivers Trust, Mersey Rivers Trust, Environment Agency, CIRIA, Peterborough City Council, PCEU Consultants, Groundwork, Canal and River Trust, and Natural England.

Peter Bide

Peter Bide, Urban Working Group Chair

Peter is a Chartered Geologist and a Chartered Engineer specialising in integrated water management and flood risk management planning, currently working on a project for CIRIA on delivering successful integrated water management through the planning system.

Contact Peter

Biodiversity Working Group

The CaBA Biodiversity Group supports catchment partnerships in their delivery of water and wetland biodiversity projects.

It aims to:

  • Promote effective restoration measures and best practice management
  • Ensure Catchment Partnerships can access & utilise biodiversity data to prioritise their activities.
  • Highlight opportunities for delivery against WFD and Biodiversity 2020 and 25 year plan targets through the Catchment Based Approach
  • Understand the barriers faced, and showcase the good practice work that Catchment Partnerships deliver.


The Group also performs a parallel function as the Water & Wetlands Group, a sub-group of the Terrestrial Biodiversity Group. The TBG is a national partnership set up to facilitate the delivery of Priority Habitat and Species outcomes under the Government’s Biodiversity 2020 strategy. The sub-group’s work includes promoting national aims & targets for wetland priority habitats and species amongst local delivery groups, including Catchment Partnerships – its existence as TBG’s only habitat-focussed working group is a testament to the important opportunities that CaBA presents for progressing biodiversity delivery across our catchments.

The group includes representatives from Natural England, Wildlife Trusts, Wildfowl & Wetland Trust, National Trust, Floodplain Meadows Partnership, Environment Agency, Defra, RSPB, Freshwater Habitats Trust, Broads Authority and The Rivers Trust.

The group is chaired by Alastair Burn and supported by Glen Cooper from Natural England.

Glen Cooper, Biodiversity Working Group, secretary and deputy chair

Glen is a Senior Adviser and Lake Restoration Programme Manager for Natural England. He has worked across the freshwater and coastal agenda at local and national level, and has always been fascinated by ecology, especially of aquatic systems. Glen is secretary and deputy chair of the Biodiversity Working Group.

Alastair Burn, Biodiversity Working Group Chair

Benefits Working Group

The Benefits Working Group provides Catchment Partnerships with guidance, resources and skills for the monitoring, evaluation and reporting of their performance, outputs and delivery outcomes, particularly with respect to the wide range of environmental, social and economic benefits realised through collaborative working – Robust monitoring and evaluation is critical to the long-term success and sustainability of CaBA.

The group has designed a reporting template to capture evaluation and benefits realised for each partnership nationwide. This issued to determine the direction of travel of CaBA nationwide, identify capacity building and training needs and champion the initiate to a wide range of key stakeholders.

The group is also working to a longer-term nationally agreed framework for valuing/evaluating/reporting multiple benefits for a Natural Capital approach with the goal of providing a framework, methods and guidance that is bespoke for CaBA partnerships.

Nick Paling

Nick Paling, Benefits Working Group Chair

Head of Data, Evidence & Comms at Westcountry Rivers Trust. Nick plays a key role in the delivery of spatial evidence, data and mapping for several important strategic projects and coordinates and manages a series of large-scale monitoring programmes. Nick also chairs the Benefits Working Group.

Follow @WestcountryRT

Abstraction Working Group

The Abstraction (Water Resources) Working Group was established to ensure that catchment partnerships are supported to integrate water resources management into a wider programme of integrated catchment planning and delivery.

The working group has a particular aim of supporting the implementation of the Defra/EA Abstraction Plan that includes a commitment to a stronger catchment focus on abstraction management. The group is supporting the testing of new management approaches in some initial priority catchments but will be looking to broaden the impact and knowledge of the group’s activities across all catchments in England.

The Group is co-chaired by Owen Turpin (EA) and Barry Bendall (RT).

Barry Bendall

Barry Bendall, Abstraction Working Group Co-chair

Director of Operations Director, The Rivers Trust

Barry joined The Rivers Trust in 2011 after previously working as a fish biologist. Barry works across all areas of catchment management, with an increasing focus on the integration of water resources management into wider catchment management. Barry is co-chair of the CaBA Water Resources (Abstraction) Working Group.

Agriculture Working Group

The Agriculture Working Group champions and demonstrates the role of catchment partnerships in the development and delivery of agricultural land management that benefits both the environment and farm business.  This includes a focus upon approaches that realise multiple benefits, for example, with respect to water quality, flood risk, air quality and biodiversity.

The Group also provides for knowledge exchange, disseminating best and innovative practice across CaBA including Defra and the industry, and sharing developments in agricultural policy (e.g. Farming Rules for Water) with catchment partnerships.

The Group is chaired by Chris Ryder  and Alex Inman

Flood Working Group

CaBA Flood Working Group (FWG) brings the NSG and other organisations together that are interested in inclusive, integrated catchment approaches to flood risk management.

This group’s focus is developing capacity and helping Catchment Partnerships’ (CPs) work to reduce flood risk, including using Natural Flood Management (NFM), land management and Working with Natural Processes (WWNP) as part of the wider FRM toolkit.

The group aims to work together to conserve, manage and improve our natural environment, maximise catchment partnerships contribution to flood risk management, and build capacity for communities, local authorities and catchment partnerships to implement successful natural flood management.

The group is made up of representatives from Rivers Trusts, NFU, Anglian Water, Natural Flood Forum, Wildlife Trusts, Capita Black & Veatch, Buckingham County Council, Natural England, Forestry Commission, Leeds University and Environment Agency.

Estuaries and Coasts Working Group

The CaBA estuaries and coasts working group aims to build knowledge and expertise with respect to these critical ‘downstream’ environments that provide the interface between land and sea. It also supports greater collaboration between CaBA and Coastal partnerships to help embed a more holistic approach and one that engages a wider range of stakeholders. The group has supported the development of the Coastal and Estuarine Data Package and Explorer that provides access to a national evidence base.

It has also developed a Policy and Legislation Storymap.

The Group is chaired by Amy Pryor, Chair of the Coastal Partnerships Network.

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