HS6: Maintenance of designed/engineered water bodies

Find out about eligibility and requirements for the maintenance of designed/engineered water bodies option.

How much will be paid

£440 per hectare (ha).

Where to use this option

Available for Mid Tier and Higher Tier

Only on:

  • water bodies with an artificially retained area of open standing water
  • the banks of the water body and buffer strips around associated features (such as leats and culverts)

Where this option cannot be used

  • to include areas of water - only land can be included in a claim
  • for field ponds dug to below the water table
  • for water meadows (both bedwork and catch meadow systems)
  • for water bodies that are covered by the Reservoirs Act 1975
  • for raised water bodies that are deemed at high-risk by the Environment Agency under the Flood and Water Management Act 2010

How this option will benefit the environment

It protects the banks and associated historic built water-control features of designed or engineered historic water bodies. It maintains or strengthens the role of these features in water quality management.

If successful there will be:

  • a well-managed grass buffer with no scrub developing
  • a water body that contains clear water and is not over-shaded
  • structurally sound water control features
  • maintenance carried out using traditional materials and methods

Maintaining archaeological and historic features will conserve the character of the farm and protect England’s heritage for future generations. This option can also help to maintain and conserve landscape character.

Requirements

  • establish or maintain a permanently vegetated buffer strip at least 4m wide on the perimeter or bank of the water body
  • establish or maintain a permanently vegetated buffer strip at least 2m wide around associated features outside the 4m buffer strip
  • manage the buffer strips to control woody growth and make sure there is no more than 5% bare ground
  • make sure that no more than 25% of the water surface is in permanent shade
  • control scrub and undesirable plant species so that there is no more than 5% covering the banks of the water body by year 2
  • remove all cut material
  • keep the depth, shape, profile and design of the built water body and associated engineering without alteration
  • keep the character of the feature in its local setting by:
    • carrying out maintenance works and minor repairs on structural historic or archaeological features on a ‘like-for-like’ basis
    • keeping and maintaining any non-traditional material that was previously used to repair or re-clad the structures

Do not:

  • erect new fences

Keeping records

Agreement holders will need to keep the following records and supply them on request:

  • a structures maintenance record using the template provided:
    • at least once a year, carry out and record the results of an inspection of the water body and associated features
    • complete the record with a list of items needing attention and a record of repair and maintenance work that has been carried out
    • photographs - before and after shots each year of all maintenance works and minor repairs that have been carried out to be submitted with the final claim
    • any receipted invoices (or banks statements where a receipted invoice is unavailable), consents or permissions connected with the work
    • records of all management activity on the option area for each parcel

For the final claim, agreement holders will need to submit photographs of:

  • the water feature, clearly showing its shape and design and all associated engineering features such as sluices, weirs, dams and other water control structures
  • the water feature and surrounding buffers, clearly showing the extent of any areas of scrub, bracken or pernicious weeds

Applicants will need to send the following with their application:

  • photographs of the water feature, clearly showing its shape and design and all associated engineering features such as sluices, weirs, dams and other water control structures
  • photographs of the water feature and surrounding buffers, clearly showing the extent of any areas of scrub, bracken or pernicious weeds
  • evidence on how the eligibility criteria listed above are met

These options and supplements can be located on the same area as this option:

Advice and suggestions for how to carry out this option

The following section gives advice on carrying out this option successfully but does not form part of the requirements for this option.

Maintenance work

Annual maintenance – the routine work needed to protect structures and features to ensure they survive  should be carried out to identify and prevent the start of serious structural problems. This should help to avoid expensive restoration in the future.

Typical maintenance work can include:

  • regularly inspecting buffer strips to make sure no scrub is developing
  • making sure the buffer strips are not on compacted soil so that water can infiltrate
  • inspecting the water body to make sure it is clear, and inspecting associated structures to make sure they are working properly
  • undertaking minor repairs such as clearing vegetation from leats, sluices, hatches and dams, and repointing retaining walls

Summer is usually the best time for inspections and minor repair works, as water levels are lower and more of the water structures are visible.

Further information

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