Natural Course

Home to a diverse range of landscapes and barriers, the North West has been chosen to lead the first EU LIFE integrated Project in the UK: Natural Course. The project will span over 10 years, sharing results with the rest of the UK and Europe.

78% of rivers in North West England are not considered healthy, and many solutions are found to be too expensive to implement.

We are working with the Environment Agency, United Utilities, Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and Natural England to build capacity to protect and improve our water environment, now and for the future.

Natural Course will:
  • Test and inform best practice in achieving UK and EU legislation in water quality.
  • Use the North West River Basin as a flagship project and share best practice with the UK and Europe.
  • Make better use of resources, share ownership of complex issues, reduce barriers and maximise outcomes, through a collaborative approach of organisations from public, private and third sector.

Natural Course is an EU funded LIFE Integrated Project, that will run for 10 years (subject to funding) to improve and protect the water quality of the North West.

The project will support and build on the Catchment Based Approach (CaBA) and will work with the following catchment hosts in the North West:

  • Groundwork
  • Mersey Rivers Trust
  • Lune Rivers Trust
  • Ribble Rivers Trust
  • South Cumbria rivers Trust
  • West Cumbria Rivers Trust
  • Wyre Rivers Trust

Working together, the above contributors are in the process of assembling a broad range of data and evidence to guide actions across the North West River Basin District.

If you would like more information on the Natural Course project, please visit

Project start date: December 2015 Project end date: March 2026

This project has been made possible with the support of EU LIFE Integrated Projects Funding. Project number LIFE14IP/UK/027

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