Spotlight on the Soar

A spotlight was shone on the River Soar this month as senior figures from the Environment Agency – along with national policy group Blueprint for Water – visited the catchment.

The EA’s Water, Land & Biodiversity Team, led by Pete Fox, spent a sunny day in Leicester to see first-hand the impact of effective partnership working in the catchment.

Members of the EAs Water, Land & Biodive0rsity Team standing on a bridge over the River Soar
EA Water, Land & Biodiversity Team visit the Soar catchment in Leicester

The group were shown a recent sustainable drainage scheme at a supermarket site on the outskirts of Leicester, a new flood risk capital scheme, and walked along the River Soar to the Willow Brook to the south of the catchment. The capital scheme included a brand new cycle route, wetland and a newly landscaped public open space in the floodplain. This will not only result in an increase in biodiversity, but also an increase in those visiting the area and enjoying the environment.

The Partnership also showed the group first hand the urban debris and sediment that flows into the main River Soar. The Partnership, with the EA, is currently working with Leicester City Council and the Local Economic Partnership to trial an innovative sediment finger printing project which will help target interventions to reduce the polluting sediment that enters the catchment and causes issues downstream.

The visit highlighted the challenges in managing the multiple pressures that rivers in urban environments face, whilst creating a space where nature can flourish, and one that people can enjoy.

Demonstrating impact through partnership working

The Soar Catchment Partnership, which only formed in the beginning of 2014, has already demonstrated significant achievements through partnership working, including:

  • Almost doubling the size of the Partnership to include over 40 organisations.
  • Securing over £500,000 in additional funding.
  • Trialling an innovative sediment fingerprinting method to alleviate flood risk and improve water quality.
  • Taken significant steps to develop the ‘Soar Data and Evidence Tool’ to shape and determine where future resources and funding should be targeted for maximum impact.

Find out more about the Partnership’s achievements by downloading the Soar leaflet.

Find out more about the work happening in the Soar by visiting the where we work pages.