Hull & East Riding | Humber
The CaBA Partnership for the Hull and East Riding management catchment was established in 2014. It is hosted by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust with support from the East Yorkshire Rivers Trust as Joint Host. They are joined on the partnership by 13 other organisations that take an interest in the management and enhancement of the water bodies in the Hull and East Riding area.
Prior to the national launch of CaBA, members of the partnership had a good track record of working well together. For this reason, we readily embraced CaBA as a way of identifying shared aims and cross-cutting issues; ensuring a coordinated approach to project delivery; and realising improvements across the catchment. A full list of member organisations is provided below:
Unlike most other catchments, the Hull and East Riding catchment area comprises a series of distinct and often discrete watercourses/water bodies, known locally as:
Most of these water bodies are separate from the main inland waterway network. Together, though, they are crucial to the drainage of the Yorkshire Wolds and the East Riding and to the unique landscape character of the region.
In March 2017, the Hull and East Riding Catchment Partnership published its first catchment plan, which explains how partners are using the catchment based approach to make a difference in the water environment, in local communities and to the local economy – now and in the long term.
Many of the catchment’s key attributes reflect the diversity and uniqueness of the Hull and East Riding area. For example, our catchment boasts the most northerly chalk river system in England – the River Hull Headwaters. This and other water bodies support several nationally important fish species, including brown trout, grayling, eel and lamprey. The catchment also has numerous relic wetlands, many of which have the potential to be restored to enhance biodiversity and mitigate flood risk. In addition, the water bodies in our area provide habitat for farmland bird assemblages and a significant population of water vole, which is recorded as part of the National Water Vole Database and Mapping Project managed by The Wildlife Trusts. Other notable species include greater water parsnip and a wide range of mayflies, caddis flies and other aquatic insects.
(Image courtesy of Tom Marshall)
Launched in 2019, ‘Chalkshire’ is the flagship project of the Hull and East Riding Catchment Partnership. The largely unrealised significance of our chalk landscape provides a compelling reason to bring together a wide range of interested people and organisations to discuss how we value, manage and interact with the water, heritage and wildlife within it. Through this ongoing dialogue, the Catchment Partnership is developing an overarching vision for ‘Chalkshire’, as well as a suite of community-generated projects to explore and champion our chalk landscape and promote participation and enjoyment of it. The aim of this shared endeavour is to bring significant investment into our area through a diverse, landscape-scale programme of work that supports priorities set out in the Government’s environment plan, ‘A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment’.
In 2019, the Catchment Partnership hosted two events to propose the concept of ‘Chalkshire’ and explore its potential with partners from a range of sectors and fields of interest. During 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted plans to engage stakeholders further and so energy was directed to pulling together all the stakeholder feedback gathered to date and carrying out further research and investigations to articulate what we mean by ‘Chalkshire’. A grant from the Water Environment Improvement Fund (WEIF) was awarded in October 2020 to support this development work, which has resulted in site visits, field work, engagement with the farming community (a group that had not been engaged with meaningfully to that point) and desktop research.
All these activities have fed into the preparation of this report, whose purpose is to define what value the chalk landscape gives us in broad terms, for example the livelihoods that depend on it and the physical features that draw visitors to our area. The report establishes a working definition of the ‘Chalkshire’ area, the strategic drivers for this initiative and explains the significance of chalk, in particular through the presentation of three case studies. In addition the report concludes with a set of recommendations for how the Chalkshire project can be taken forward.
As demonstrated above, our catchment plan has a strong track record of collaborative working. Through the partnership, members have access to a wide range of skills, knowledge, experience and expertise. Investment from CaBA is used to unlock additional support from within member organisations and other sources of funding. This strategic combining of resources has enabled the partnership to achieve greater results – by being able scale up some projects while ensuring good value for money. Below are a few examples:
Case Study 1: Lowthorpe Mill Diversion project
Through this project, East Yorkshire Rivers Trust created a new, naturalised channel to bypass the mill pool and water control structure at Lowthorpe Mill on Foston Beck, earning them The Wild Trout Trust conservation award for Medium Scale Habitat Enhancement in 2016. The project was carried out following an extended negotiation with the stakeholders involved, in particular the Environment Agency, Natural England, the land owner, farm tenant and tenant fishing club. For more information, please visit EYRT’s website: http://www.eastyorkshireriverstrust.org.uk/projects/low-thorpe-mill-diversion.html
(Image courtesy of Alan Mullinger)
Case Study 2: Skerne Wetlands
This 70-acre site, formerly known as Humberside Fisheries, had been run as a commercial coarse and trout fishery supplying stock to the fishing industry. In March 2012 following discussions with the landowner, the site was acquired by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust with a grant from Natural England and match funding from the Trust. The summer of 2012 was one of the wettest on record and it became apparent that the highly engineered fish farm site, although affected by high flows and flooding, was not linked to the river and was largely disconnected from the floodplain. The Trust, working in partnership with the Environment Agency and Natural England, developed a plan to create a mosaic of wetland habitats that would complement the West Beck chalk stream and re-connect the river with its floodplain if possible.
(Image courtesy of Jon Traill)
Case Study 3: Hull’s Aqua Greens Programme
After the severe floods of 2007, Hull City Council commissioned the Hull Surface Water Management Plan (SWMP) – one of four pilot plans in the country. The Hull SUDs Retrofit Project, later branded the Aqua Greens programme, was one of the preferred options implemented from this plan. Aqua greens are multi-purpose public spaces which tackle surface water flooding; address Water Framework Directive issues, including poor water quality; and deliver community benefits, such as better recreational provision. In 2015, the partnership received an award from Defra’s Catchment Partnership Action Fund (CPAF). Part of this award was allocated to Hull City Council to deliver three of their planned aqua greens at Suttoncross Drain, Lambwath Stream and Willerby Carr Dyke.
(Image of Willerby Carr Dyke courtesy of Hull City Council)
This study investigated the impact of implementing natural flood management (NFM) measures within the River Hull catchment primarily as a method of reducing flood risk. Seven NFM measures were identified as being the most suitable for this lowland environment: leaky dams, large woody debris, floodplain reconnection, wet woodland, buffer strips, contour ploughing and tree planting. Modelling was carried out to calculate the hydrological benefits for each of the seven NFM measures. By using the modelling results along with field site visits with partners, bespoke opportunity maps were created showing the most suitable locations for NFM measures. In addition, a novel evaluation matrix was developed to enable users to weigh up different options involved in NFM selection and recommend the best NFM measure by considering factors including flood risk benefits, ecosystem service benefits, existing land use, cost and funding opportunities. This study was led by Hull City Council with strong support from the Hull and East Riding Catchment Partnership and was funded by Environment Agency Flood Defence Grant in Aid.
If you would like more information about the Hull and East Riding Catchment Partnership, please contact any of the following members:
Jon Traill, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust (Catchment Host)
Amanda Foster, Environment Agency (Catchment Coordinator)
We would be pleased to hear from you.
(Image of the River Hull courtesy of Michael Lee)