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Launch of £6.5m study to reduce agricultural river pollution

Story supplied by LU Press Office

the River Eden catchment at Eden Lacy, near Lazonby the River Eden catchment at Eden Lacy, near Lazonby

Lancaster University is leading a large part of a £6.5m environmental scheme to reduce water pollution from agriculture.

The five-year project is being funded by Defra with support from the Environment Agency. The river Eden in Cumbria has been selected as one of three test river catchments in the UK along with the Wensum in Norfolk and the Hampshire Avon.

Central to the project is the University of Cumbria's Newton Rigg Farm which will be the base site for the research consortium led by Lancaster University.

The experimental farm will be used to develop ways of preventing farm waste and chemicals from polluting the river Eden and will act as a demonstration farm to engage with local farmers and landowners.

The involvement of farmers and landowners is an essential part of the study, which aims to bring together researchers, farmers, water companies and policy makers to develop a common approach to tackling water pollution.

Wetlands, ponds and sediment traps are just some of the solutions being tested by the team of experts from the universities of Lancaster, Cumbria, Durham, Newcastle and Aberystwyth as well as colleagues from the Eden Rivers Trust, the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and the British Geological Survey.

Others ideas include an anaerobic digester for farm yard manure and food waste; algal ponds; willow coppices within buffer zones and rainwater harvesting.

The 40 organisations from around the country that are involved in the project gathered at Newton Rigg on September 16 before moving to the Lancaster Environment Centre at Lancaster University for a conference on September 17.

Mon 20 September 2010