WCRT & partners secure grant for ‘Resilient Glenderamackin’ project to reduce flood risk to Keswick whilst tackling biodiversity loss and improving water quality

4th December 2023 - General Catchment

West Cumbria Rivers Trust and partners the Rivers Trust and Nature Finance are delighted to have been successful in securing a Landscape Recovery Grant from Defra for their ‘Resilient Glenderamackin’ project. This is a significant step in the development of the large scale and ambitious whole-catchment project aiming to reduce flood risk to Keswick, whilst also addressing the biodiversity crisis, improving water quality, storing carbon and supporting local farmers.

Defra recently announced 34 Landscape Recovery grants, as part of the new Environmental Land Management scheme and allows large scale projects that deliver for nature and farming to be developed across multiple landholdings.

Working with more than 40 land managers, the funding gives the Trust the opportunity to work up projects on the ground in more detail, and develop an approach for blending government agri-environment funds through Landscape Recovery with private finance. Subject to DEFRA agreement, a five year delivery phase will then follow suit.

The Glenderamackin catchment is approximately 142km2 and includes the mountains and river valleys that drain into Keswick from the East including Mungrisdale, Troutbeck, the Naddle and St John’s in the Vale. Land managers, covering 11,000Ha have given their support to explore Landscape Recovery, including 3 commons associations.

The Resilient Glenderamackin project aims to reduce flood risk to Keswick through the delivery of Natural Flood Management and nature based solutions upstream. They aim to temporarily store approximately 800,000m3 of water using pond and wetland creation, river restoration techniques and reconnecting watercourses with their floodplains. In addition, the project will provide further flood risk benefit by slowing the flow of water through woodland creation, peat restoration, soil improvements and grassland restoration. This is modelled to take 10% off the flood peak within Keswick in a 1-in-30 year event and continue to offer protection up to the 2050s taking into account mid-point climate change predictions.

The natural flood management features have multiple benefits, improving habitat and biodiversity in the river and the wider catchment, taking steps towards net zero whilst also supporting nature friendly farming and crucially, supporting farming communities.

A key criteria of the funding is to support sustainable food production, which doesn’t have to be at the expense of nature. The team are working with farmers to co-design the project to allow farming and nature to go hand in hand; whilst creating new job opportunities along the way, including for local contracting businesses.

Private finance is essential in helping the team deliver this project. As part of the Resilient Glenderamackin project, they’re exploring ways that they can bring in private finance to help bolster the project and ensure they get the right intervention in the right place, as well as ensuring the long-term success of the project. This might include peatland and woodland carbon codes and delivering the environmental strategies of key local agencies and organisations through the project. Conversations with a range of organisations are still in the early stages but the Trust is always keen to hear from others interested in working with them!

At the end of the development phase, land managers will have the option to enter a long-term agreement (which will include maintenance payments) to implement these changes on their land.

The project has multiple partners and builds on over five years of existing project delivery involving farmers, landowners, environmental NGOs and government agencies working together. The Trust wants to continue working with farmers to find ways to integrate these changes that would deliver the biggest benefits for nature and flood risk reduction and to integrate this with their farm business.

Greg Nicholson, a farmer near Keswick said “It’s great to hear West Cumbria Rivers Trust has got funding to develop the Resilient Glenderamackin Landscape Recovery project. They’re good to work with and I’m looking forward to finding out more about what we can do together to deliver positive work in the catchment that has wider benefits for nature and reducing flood risk, alongside our farm business.”

Vikki Salas, WCRT Assistant Project Direct said “This has been a complex and exciting project to develop to date, both in its scope and potential impacts for nature, the community and the land managers and businesses we’ll be working closely with. We’ll be breaking new ground and we’re confident that the opportunities through Landscape Recovery will allow us to finalise project development and get going on the ground as soon as possible to urgently address the biodiversity and climate issues this area faces”.