River Restoration is a European driven initiative (Water Framework Directive) targeting Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) on the River Derwent. The purpose of these projects is to make rivers more natural so they do not require costly maintenance (now the responsibility of the landowner) and improve the habitat for aquatic species. West Cumbria Rivers Trust is delivering these projects on behalf of the Environment Agency and Natural England and the aim is to complete a limited number of these projects so they can be used as demonstration sites for farmers and landowners. To-date, one major project has been completed on Whit Beck (near Lorton) and two other more moderate projects; one also on the R Cocker, below Lorton, and the other on the Lower Derwent up-stream Great Clifton. Further potential projects will be evaluated and then undertaken over the coming years.
The work on the River Derwent and its tributaries (streams) forms part of the North West River Basin Management Plan, which aims to improve the health of all rivers and water bodies in the North West of England to meet standards set out in the European Water Framework Directive (WFD). This project, jointly funded by Natural England and the Environment Agency, will help contribute to meeting these standards by improving both water quality and enabling the river / stream to function more naturally.
Our role in this project is to act as the facilitator, namely to deliver the work on the ground through coordination of all relevant parties and authorities; including landowners, contractors and planning.