An innovative new partnership approach to fund critical nature restoration projects has been launched to help improve the water quality of England’s largest lake, Windermere.
Revere – a collaboration between Palladium and National Parks Partnership – has secured funding from The Estée Lauder Companies UK & Ireland (ELC) to study water quality issues currently facing Windermere in the Lake District.
The work sits alongside the Love Windermere programme, which involves a wide range of partners including the Lake District National Park Authority, the Environment Agency, the Freshwater Biological Association, the Lake District Foundation, United Utilities, the National Trust, NFU, Cumbria LEP and the South Cumbria Rivers Trust, who have joined forces to tackle the challenges.
A range of factors, including wastewater issues, ageing septic tanks, land management practices and climate change, have resulted in the decline of the water conditions leading to problems for both nature and people. The 12-month project is a pilot scheme to explore what solutions may be suitable for the Windermere catchment. In collaboration with the other Love Windermere projects, solutions being considered by Revere include catchment woodland planting, leaky dam installation and hay meadow creation.
As part of its commitment to sustainability, ELC has pledged £100,000 to the project, which will help fund the design of nature-based improvements to deliver improved water quality, biodiversity and climate resilience. The project will also result in a commercial plan outlining a blended finance model for the delivery and long-term maintenance of the proposed interventions. The global company has guaranteed a further £400,000 to be spent on other nature restoration projects throughout the UK’s National Parks over the next four years.
Lake District National Park Authority chief executive, Richard Leafe, said: “We welcome this ambitious, innovative pilot project to find nature-based solutions to improve Windermere, together with new funding options for landowners. While the lake currently meets water standards, we know it’s not as good as it could be and phosphorus pollution in particular is an issue. We’re pleased to be funded by Estée Lauder Companies UK & Ireland in this new, but important, area of work.
“While the issues facing Windermere aren’t going to be resolved quickly, we know that by tackling them through a range of Love Windermere projects, all partners are committed to finding long-term solutions that will benefit the lake, its biodiversity and everyone who lives, works in and enjoys Windermere.”
The power of collaboration
Sue Fox, President of Estée Lauder Companies UK & Ireland, said: “This partnership is a testament to the power of collaboration. The Windermere project will be the first of several Revere lead initiatives that ELC is funding to protect and restore the UK’s ecosystems. This summer, I had the pleasure of visiting the Windermere site with the teams working on Revere. It was wonderful to meet local landowners who explained the principles of sustainable agriculture to me and I am excited to support the delivery of improved water quality and biodiversity in this area.”
Using the ELC UK & Ireland funding, Revere will work with Love Windermere partners to find ways to improve the water quality and remove excess nutrients from entering the water. The team is also looking at creating restoration models with landowners and farmers in the lake’s catchment area to harness new working practices that will benefit nature and also generate revenue streams to ensure any changes made will be profitable for both their businesses and the economy of the Lake District.
Unlocking natural capital investment
Andrew Sutherland, Director of Nature-based Solutions at Palladium, said: “By working closely with partners and stakeholders we believe we can find solutions to help nature and local communities whilst also unlocking pathways to investment in natural capital. In the current climate and biodiversity crises, it is essential that organisations from across different sectors work together and pool our knowledge and resources to get the best results possible. Love Windermere is a perfect example of partnership working at its best.
“We’re very thankful that Estée Lauder Companies UK & Ireland realised the potential of what we can do here and decided to invest £500,000 over a five-year time frame to help protect and enhance the wealth of natural beauty across our National Parks.
This is the first year of the collaboration where £100,000 will support the Love Windermere project and will focus on innovation. We are already looking at where funds will be directed in year two and we’re very excited to see what projects can benefit from this much-needed injection of funding.”