Lead: Debbie Reynolds, email@example.com
Group members: 4
Length of agreement: 3
Area of group (Hectares): 1554
The East Kent Sustainable Farming Group has members within two Countryside Stewardship Statement of Priority regions, the Norths Downs and the Wealden Greensand.
The overriding emphasis of the group is to respond to the top water priorities, highlighted in both Priority Statements and address principle causes for water quality failure identified in the Water Framework Directive (WFD); low flow, low dissolved oxygen, high phosphates and poor fish populations.
Identification of management options and capital works that will address top priorities in the regional statements across the holdings is key to achieving positive results. The KSCP has a good working relationship and communication channel with the Environment Agency. This combined with local land knowledge and links to existing restoration projects along the River Stour will ensure interactions between members, other landowners and organisations are sustained with a prospective view to expand delivery across other/neighbouring holdings.
The (upper) Stour River catchment covers an extensive area and has a large number of tributaries and ditch systems that feed into the main river system.
North Downs Priority Statement – Develop capital works projects or land management practices to reduce phosphate, nitrate, sediment and faecal bacteria in the Stour. Increase flow and improve fish populations. – Identify woodland planting opportunity that will reduce and intercept diffuse pollution, improve infiltration to reduce flood risk and improve biodiversity
Wealden Greensand Priority Statement – Restore/create riparian habitats associated with the Stour, a priority river – Reduce amount and rate of surface run-off, soil erosion and arable cultivation passes in the Stour catchment between Ashford and Charing – Identify woodland planting opportunity that will reduce and intercept diffuse pollution, improve infiltration to reduce flood risk and improve biodiversity
It is anticipated that additional top priorities such as improved habitat management for priority species will be achieved resulting from increased enthusiasm and understanding of the specific species needs within the facilitation group with particular reference to farmland birds and aquatic/marginal plant species.