Danish catchment officers visit East Anglia, UK for knowledge exchange

Wednesday, December 6, 2017 - Published by Alistair Maltby
27 Catchment Officers and colleagues from SEGES in Denmark attended a 3-day knowledge exchange in the UK to learn about how Rivers Trusts are working with farmers.

The Danish catchment officers were welcomed by representatives from The Rivers Trust and catchment (farm) advisors from Westcountry, Norfolk and Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trusts on the 20th, 21st, 22nd November in East Anglia.

The meeting included a visit to two large farming estates (Elveden and South Pickenham) to gain insight into farming practices in East Anglia (including the importance of water in a water stressed area) and to hear about the ongoing partnership work by the CamEO Catchment Partnership (one of the WaterCoG pilots) which is delivered through funding from the WWF UK/Coca-Cola freshwater partnership and another EU Interreg North Sea Region Project, ‘Topsoil’.

Catchment officers are new positions in Denmark, and the event was a real knowledge exchange for the Danish catchment officers to learn about the work of Rivers Trust advisors, how they go about delivering farm advice and how they support reducing diffuse pollution from agriculture. In return, the Rivers Trust advisors learnt about the development of these positions in Denmark.

The Danish officers are funded by the government to work with farmers to implement a new government funded grant scheme to construct wetlands that reduce levels of nutrients entering surface waters. Catchment officers were first piloted in the WaterCoG project and the success has led to this wider roll-out across Denmark.

Particular interest was shown in the work that Rivers Trusts are doing with working with corporate partners to develop sustainable supply chains through their Water Stewardship Service.

Flemming Gertz from SEGES, said: “It was a fantastic opportunity for our new catchment officers in Denmark to visit The Rivers Trust in the UK. The new Danish national program for catchment officers was established in 2017 and in the years ahead we were very much inspired by the Catchment Based Approach and work of The Rivers Trust. This was initiated by Interreg programs like Water Cap / Water Cap Task Force and lately by Watercog.

“To have our catchment officers get a closer look at the experiences from UK was very much about getting a broader perspective on the catchment work and building up a new governance structure in Denmark which is more based upon local involvement and co-governance.”