Tidal Wyre Farm Wetland
United Utilities are the water company responsible for water supply and wastewater treatment in Northwest England, UK. They have been having a big push in recent years to improve the quality of bathing waters of the popular seaside resorts of Blackpool and Morecombe. As you might expect from a water company, some of this effort is in the form of investment in new sewerage infrastructure, but alongside this they have invested in the "Ribble and Wyre Tidal project", a partnership with the local Rivers Trusts, the NFU and Natural England to reduce diffuse pollution from farms in the lower Wyre and Ribble catchments.
Wetland Engineering were commissioned by the Wyre Rivers Trust to design a farm wetland as a part of the clean-up effort. An audit of local farms had identified a number of pollution prevention measures that would improve the quality of runoff from yards and buildings, and one farmer was willing to invest some of his land to create a treatment wetland to intercept the sediment and nutrients that were expected in extreme weather events.
It was important that the wetland was in keeping with the landscape, so Geoff designed it to have a very naturalistic appearance and with good diversity of wetland plants in keeping with local wetland communities. It also had to work for the farm, so care was taken to ensure the design continued to allow good access to maintain hedges and the areas around the new wetland cells.
Farm wetlands are encouraged by Natural England's "Catchment Sensitive Farming" initiative, and their local representative came to look at the scheme and gave some advice about pollution prevention.