The Solent Forum

Working in partnership for the future


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Farming and River Catchments

The CaBA 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 Sustainable Farming Incentive is the first in a package of environmental land management schemes to provide a way for farmers to get paid for producing public goods. These include cleaner water, cleaner air and carbon reduction. 

Solent Context and Issues

New Forest Nurseries Project (Water Environment Improvement Funded)

After two years, with an initial year of planning and a second year of delivery, the New Forest Nurseries project has been successfully completed. This project helps to address nutrient and sediment pollution from nurseries and soft fruit producers in the New Forest by providing expert advice from water resource management specialists and contributing funding for rainwater capture installations. Sites selected were based on WFD or Protected Areas failing or at risk, and for overall reduction of nutrients to water systems, and scale of interventions available to demonstrate good practice within the horticultural industry. Installation of rainwater harvesting tanks collecting from the largest roof surface on site were impolemented at Beckheath Nursery (Lymington Catchment). Practical measures have been carried out at four sites located in three catchments, Lymington, Beaulieu and Sowley. Measures mainly included the installation of rainwater capture and strorage linked to existing irrigation systems. Overall across these four sites the project has increase the water storage capacity from 120,000 litres to 580,000 litres, by fitting or upgrading guttering and pipework along roof space and installing large water tanks to store water which would other wash across hard surfaces and into the nearest water body.


Catchment Sensitive Farming 

Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF) is a partnership between Defra, the Environment Agency and Natural England. It works with farmers and a range of other partners to improve water and air quality in high priority areas. CSF offers farmers free training, advice and support for grant applications.

Poole Harbour Nutrient Management Scheme 

Over the past few years, the NFU has been working in conjunction with a number of farmers and other stakeholders on the issue of nitrogen levels in Poole harbour. The two key sources are sewage and agriculture. Consequently the agricultural sector has taken voluntary steps and has worked on initiatives to reduce Nitrogen entering the harbour from farming in feeder catchments.

The Poole Harbour nutrient management scheme (PHNMS) was put together by the NFU and farmers to create a solution to the issue of nutrients from agriculture causing damage to the internationally designated wildlife areas in Poole Harbour. The scheme is farmer led and managed and hopes to be an alternative to regulation and create new opportunities for income generation. Find out more on the NFU website.


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