A partnership between us, the Environment Agency and Catchment Sensitive Farming will deliver a capital investment scheme to support improvements in water quality in the River Gara, South Devon.

Initial grants will assist farmers in the area with interventions designed to reduce risk of losses to watercourses from farmland or yards.

Our Head of Land Management Hazel Kendall said: “Through the partnership, we have provided finance to implement small scale works such as fencing, track improvements, or sediment traps specifically on the River Gara, which drains to Slapton Ley.

“Our first six farms will undertake works between now and summer 2020 when there will be a second round of similar funding released.

“Each farm also contributes towards the investment as grants are offered at 50% of cost, which further encourages support and ties in future management.”

We work in the catchment through the Channel Payments for Ecosystem Services (CPES) project, which is a cross-channel UK and French partner initiative that aims to improve water quality draining from river systems into the English Channel.

There is scope within the project’s remit to develop alternative opportunities for investment that protect water quality.

This has led to collaborations with several businesses who have supply chain interests, for example in food and farming; and with growing interest in environmental matters and climate change, this has now expanded to other sectors.

We have developed the CPES Fund to provide business with the opportunity to invest, at any level, in the environments that help their business to thrive.

It will support key interventions such as woodland planting, soil management and field or river buffer strips.

These not only act to intercept and mitigate risk of losses from land to rivers, hence improving water quality, but also deliver multiple benefits such as increased biodiversity, habitat provision and connectivity for wildlife.

Other benefits include increased capacity to absorb and store rainfall, meaning less surface run-off and greater resilience to weather events, improved Carbon sequestration through natural solutions and the introduction of woodland, grassland or better soil structure. 

The CPES Fund offers the potential for companies or individuals to invest, offset or donate directly to a local intervention, with the money used to pay for activity in catchment, delivering all the above benefits.

We act as the point of contact, liaising via their charitable role with farmers and landowners to identify demand, interest, and how and where funds may be best allocated to deliver optimal results.

To promote this, we are attending the South West Business Expo at Westpoint, Exeter, on November 20.

Visit  https://wrt.org.uk/project/the-cpes-fund/ for full details or call Hazel Kendall on 01579 372140.



Channel Payments for Ecosystem Services (CPES) is a cooperation project managed within the Interreg VA France (Channel) England programme. It has a €4 million budget, co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (€2.8 million), and runs for a 45-month period (2017-2020). Fourteen partners are working towards a common goal: to improve water quality by implementing sustainable payments for ecosystem services (PES) schemes in six pilot catchments in Southern England and Northern France.

The Interreg France (Channel) England Programme is a European cross-border cooperation programme which aims at funding high quality cooperation projects in the Channel border region between France and England, in line with the Europe 2020 strategy. These projects aim to find common solutions to common problems which exist in multiple countries.