The water quality and environment of the River Mease, described as one of the UK’s best examples of an unspoilt meandering lowland river, will be improved thanks to new funding secured by The Trent Rivers Trust.

The Trust, a charity which works with farmers, anglers, landowners, other partners and the general public to improve the environment in the catchment area of the Mease, has appointed Emma Smail as the new River Mease Project Manager.

Emma (pictured above) will work closely with farmers and others to deliver a wide range of environmental projects across the River Mease catchment.

“The River Mease is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) for its valuable community of fish species and aquatic plants,” said Ruth Needham, a Senior Catchment Manager for Trent Rivers Trust.

“But the environmental quality of the River Mease is under serious threat, and a wide range of partners have come together to address the causes of the issues and deliver a series of projects that are going to improve both the water quality and habitats in the River Mease catchment. With new funding secured and Emma on board we can look after the wonderful and much loved Mease.”

Funding has been secured from two separate sources to support the new approach.

A River Mease Developer Contribution Strategy (DCS) is a scheme into which developers pay a direct contribution to restoring and maintaining water quality in the Mease. It will offset the additional phosphate contributions of development in the catchment and fund the delivery of phosphate reduction activities and schemes across the catchment.

Chris Elston, Interim Head of Planning at North West Leicestershire District Council, said:

“As a partner on the River Mease Programme Board, we are very pleased to welcome Emma Smail to the role of River Mease Project Officer and look forward to working with her in progressing the implementation of a number of projects funded by the Developer Contribution Schemes, mechanisms to allow new development to be permitted in the catchment to improve the water quality and the environment for wildlife and people alike.”

The Environment Agency has provided funding to deliver river restoration schemes to improve river habitat and function on the River Mease and its tributaries.

Adam Lines, Area Environment Manager for the Environment Agency, said:

“We’re really pleased to be a partner in the Mease River Restoration Project. The project will provide an excellent opportunity to work together with our partners, farmers, land owners and local communities to deliver a variety of enhancements to help improve the River Mease Special Area of Conservation over the next few years.”

The two funding streams complement and enhance each other, allowing Trent Rivers Trust to take a catchment wide approach. The DCS works to reduce source pollution and intercept sediment pollution on its way to the river, while the Environment Agency river restoration scheme funds work to enhance the river environment itself.

Mark Taylor, Catchment Sensitive Farming Officer at Natural England, said:

“We are delighted to welcome Emma Smail as the new River Mease Project Manager with Trent Rivers Trust. Emma’s role really complements our own catchment sensitive farming advice in the Mease catchment.  Both our organisations recognise the need for effective and positive engagement with landowners and land managers. This joined up work is the next phase of landowner engagement and will deliver benefits to the river habitat and water quality in the catchment.”

Work on site, through a wide variety of projects, is due to start very shortly.

For more details on the work on the River Mease, see the TRT website: