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Natural Course

Environment Agency, United Utilities, the Rivers Trust, Greater Manchester Combined Authorities (GMCA) and Natural England are working together to seek cost-effective solutions to improve and protect the quality of our water for generations to come.

More than half of European waters are failing to meet UK and EU legislation in water quality and many countries are finding the methods to meeting these targets too expensive and unachievable.

Based in the North West, Natural Course is the first LIFE Integrated Project (IP) in the UK and will span over 10 years. The project will use the diverse landscape of North West England to test and explore best practice in urban and rural environments, sharing results with UK and Europe.

Why the North West?

The North West makes an ideal test case as it consists of:

  • Highly populated urban areas in close proximity to large Sites of Special Scientific Interest.
  • It has the second highest rainfall in England and Wales, with little radiation from the sun.
  • There are historical chemical pollution issues left over from the industrial revolution, as well as pollution issues from agriculture and other rural sources.
  • It is also home to the highest proportion of the most socio-economically deprived communities.

Next steps

The project will support and build on the Catchment Based Approach (CaBA) and will work with the following catchment hosts in the North West:

  • Groundwork
  • Healthy Rivers Trust
  • Lune Rivers Trust
  • Ribble Rivers Trust
  • South Cumbria rivers Trust
  • West Cumbria Rivers Trust
  • Wyre Rivers Trust

Working together, the above contributors are currently in the process of assembling a broad range of data and evidence to guide actions across the North West River Basin District.

Please visit for more information on Natural Course

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