Channel Payments for Ecosystem Services

The EU Partnership project Channel Payments for Ecosystem Services (CPES) brings together organisations on both sides of the English Channel, with the ambition to influence and improve water quality entering it from both coastal regions through the development and trialling of new financial instruments.

Launched in November 2017, CPES is 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 of lakes, rivers and ground waters, by implementing sustainable Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) schemes in six case-study catchments in Southern England and Northern France. The emphasis of the schemes will be to encourage farmers to adopt practices that are more sympathetic to
catchment water quality.

Up to 70% of water bodies entering the Channel are currently rated as less than ‘Good’ Ecological Status for the EU Water Framework Directive.

The ultimate goal of the CPES project is to demonstrate that PES is a cost effective tool for solving diffuse pollution problems.

It presents an opportunity to develop new schemes by evaluating environmental conditions and identifying groups or organisations with a vested interest which could lead to the support of targeted local actions, hence rewarding positive outcomes.

Traditionally these are often delivered by land managers as part of their usual practice without reward, but PES approaches this from a different angle. 

Using two pilot areas in the South West; one a lake system, one a coastal system – the aim is to improve water quality entering the Channel via implementation of new, commercially sustainable catchment-wide schemes.

The project also brings together similar organisations to develop their interest in PES frameworks and a resources tool, to share knowledge and best practice between partners, countries and, ultimately, more widely such as feeding into policy.

Westcountry Rivers Trust has been involved in the development and delivery of Upstream Thinking (one of the original PES schemes) since its inception, whereby the water company South West Water is the buyer investing in drinking water protection across a number of strategic supply catchments.

You can read more about the project by clicking the links below:


CPES project presentation

Our two pilot areas are the Salcombe-Kingsbridge estuary, South Devon, and Roadford Lake, near Launceston in Cornwall. We are building on our existing knowledge of the catchments, creating new contacts and linking the project with other emerging activity such as Water Stewardship and private sector collaborations. Led by the University of Chichester, other UK partner organisations include Portsmouth Water, Southern Water, the Environment Agency and South Downs National Park Authority.

Find out more at: https://www.cpes-interreg.eu/en/cpes-project/our-pilot-sites/lake-roadford