Shortlisted applicants spent the evening at the Headland Hotel in Newquay and were treated to an inspiring talk from environmentalist Jonathon Porritt before the awards were announced.
The collaborative Upstream Thinking programme was successful in the ‘Theme of 2015: Best example of Environmental Growth’ Category, which rewards activities that support, restore and grow the natural environment to enhance environmental resource and promote natural, healthy ecosystems.
Upstream Thinking is funded by South West Water and delivered in Cornwall by the two trusts. The teams work with farmers to find simple and cost effective solutions on farms which reduce agricultural runoff into rivers, while benefiting wildlife and farm businesses. Most people in Cornwall drink water from rivers and reservoirs, which goes through an extensive treatment process to make it safe. By helping farmers keep sprays and soil on their farms and fields, the challenge at the treatment works is reduced, making the process cheaper. This is a cost saving which could be passed to water customers in future.
Upstream Thinking is a great example of environmental growth and the programme fits with the values of Cornwall’s Environmental Growth Strategy: Abundant, healthy, resilient and naturally productive.
Cheryl Marriott, Conservation Manager for Cornwall Wildlife Trust says,
“It is fantastic to get recognition for the work that both Cornwall Wildlife Trust and Westcountry Rivers Trust do in partnership with South West Water.
I’d like to thank all the farmers that we work with too as we couldn’t do it without them. It’s only by us all working together that we can achieve the project’s aims of keeping Cornwall’s rivers and streams clean”.
Supporting farmers to establish wildlife habitats on farmland, by planting wildlife rich ‘buffer strips’ or taking field corners out of production will make Cornwall’s wildlife more abundant. Upstream Thinking aims to provide cleaner drinking water at a lower cost which will lead to healthier communities. Maintaining habitats which are better at slowing down and soaking up water makes the environment more resilient to events such as flash flooding. Creation of habitats with wild flowers makes the environment more naturally productive, because it is great for insects like bees and butterflies which pollinate over 80% of our crops.
Frank Howie, Trustee for Cornwall Wildlife Trust says,
“This Award is great news and recognises the excellent work being undertaken by Pete Warman and his team at CWT as part of the Upstream Thinking Partnership programme. Improving the quality of water supplied from our major river catchment areas, as free as possible from environmental contaminants, is essential for sustaining human health and vital for restoring our wildlife habitats. The Trust is proud to be playing a major role in this programme”.
David Smith Upstream Thinking Project Manager for South West Water says,
“Working with the Cornwall Wildlife Trust and the Westcountry Rivers Trust for healthier rivers is a natural partnership for South West Water. The multiple benefits for people, for wildlife and for the planet make this a great example of sustainability in action.”
Upstream Thinking is helping our natural capital support society’s essential needs in a sustainable way.