Agenda item

Statutory Officer Group Report

To receive a report on the development of the next plan.


1.     Emma Johnson gave an overview of SOG related activities. The main points included:


a.     Work has been paused, in relation to the task and finish group looking at phosphate loss tools, because what has been looked at is not directly applicable to the Wye. DEFRA have also commissioned some studies so it is considered to be appropriate to wait until the conclusion of those.

b.     The DWPP (Diffuse Water Pollution Plan) is in progress and the funding and resources are in place and an expert is currently working on this document.

c.     This is an evolving process with the same teams in other SAC catchments across England in addition to a lot of new people in post.

d.     The DWPP will be the update of the (English catchment) NMP. The DWPP is effectively the same review as the NMP and there will not be two documents.

e.     Since 2021, the modelling has been developed further and an options appraisal has been introduced. The current measures are looked at, in terms of reducing phosphate to the river target and then look at what the gap is that still remains.

f.      It has been asked to be done at sub-catchment level. Therefore, instead of taking the whole body of the Wye as one, it will be split down across the Frome, Arrow, and the Lugg as well as the main body of the Wye. The Wye itself is close to, but is not failing its target, while the main sub-catchments are.

g.     The DWPP should provide greater certainty than previously with the NMP.

h.     The pressures in the catchment are in the upper reaches and is partly why a lot of focus is maintained around the Frome, Arrow and the Lugg.


2.     Christine Hugh-Jones asked if the DWPP will be concerned with phosphate alone.


a.     Martin Quine responded that the DWPP looks at the reasons for failure and why the SAC is not meeting the target. Nutrients are looked at as a whole although the main focus for not reaching its target will be phosphate. The synergy between the Wye Catchment Plan and the DWPP/NMP needs to be looked at in order to make sure that they are more holistic as documents.


3.     Councillor Maby asked to what extent is the work being done on the English side of the border being covered on the Welsh side of the border and to what extent is EA liaising with NRW.


a.     Martin Quine responded that the Wye Catchment Plan is a catchment plan which crosses the border. The DWPP is specific to England because it came from a judicial review specific to England. The DWPP will be a review of the NMP for England and not a standalone document as it will meet the same objectives.


4.     Ann Weedy (NRW) restated that the DWPP will double up as the review of the NMP and there needs to be a single plan for the entire river. Work is ongoing in Wales around developing NMPs for some of the other failing SAC rivers and it would be a shame to miss out of some of that work on the Wye.


5.     Andrew McRobb (Council for Protection of Rural England) noted that the Wye Catchment Partnership are doing a lot of investigative work and are looking holistically at the problem. It was queried that such work should feed in to the DWPP, if it is not already.


6.     Emma Johnson confirmed that every bit of potential evidence is being used. The links with different partners is being supported by work and discussions going on in the background. A lot of work is ongoing between the statutory organizations and the partnerships. A revised NMP will not be in place until March 2025, however, in the meantime, the SOG will produce a progress update on the actions in that plan and it will be brought back to this board to monitor progress.


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