Improving water quality in the Ribble Valley

Jayne Mann


We were delighted to have seen Ribble Rivers Trust featured the BBC's The One Show this week, talking about water quality testing and solutions to some of the most common pollution problems with our rivers. Shown on Monday 4th March 2019, the programme detailed how Ribble Rivers Trust had found issues with high levels of phosphates and bacteria in a stream within their catchment. During the show, the Trust took a water sample in Savick Brook, in Preston. This brook flows from the Ribble Valley through farmland and into Preston, before joining the Ribble in its estuary, not far from the Fylde Coast. Savick Brook is half farmland and half city, which presents problems with phosphate and also bacteria such as E-coli and enterococci. Phosphate often finds its way into river from agriculture, septic tanks and misconnections, as well as sewage works. Jack Spees, CEO at Ribble Rivers Trust, said: “Given how close it is to the Fylde coast this is a problem, as the River Ribble’s water quality can impact on the beaches of the Fylde Coast, which are important to local communities and the economy, as they are major tourist attractions for the area. “For the past 4 years, we have been working closely with farmers and communities to improve water quality in this brook and many nearby brooks. This work has been supported by the Environment Agency, United Utilities and a range of others including the National Lottery Heritage Fund.” During the show, the Trust explained that by working closely with the local farmers, they can significantly improve the water quality and solve many these issues at source. Like many of our other local Rivers Trusts, Ribble Rivers Trust use water quality testing and monitoring techniques to locate and solve the problem at source. Jack continues: “we often go out and test the water quality to monitor any changes within the catchment and some of this testing is done with the help of local community volunteers. “When we find an issue, we work directly with the farmer, positively to deliver change which is good for the environment, but also good for the farmer. This we feel is paramount to the success of improving the water quality of our rivers, and the majority of farmers that we approach, are incredibly keen on finding environmental solutions.” There are many different types of pollution problems found in our rivers and The Rivers Trust recently released a tool where you can find out the industries affecting your local river and whether they are classed as ‘healthy’. View the tool here and find out what industry has the most impact on your local watercourse. Watch this film on how Ribble Rivers Trust are working with farmers:

Ways you can get involved with your local river:

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