Water grants 2015: silt filtration dams or seepage barriers (RP10)

Eligibility and requirements for silt filtration dams or seepage barriers.

This guidance was withdrawn on

Capital items for improving water quality are now available through the Mid Tier of Countryside Stewardship.

Applies to England

Farmers and other land managers can apply for water grants.

Read the accompanying guidance to find out more about Countryside Stewardship water grants 2015.

How much will be paid

£75 per unit.

Where the item is available

This item is available in Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF) target areas. It can only be used in ditches where the area has been targeted for reducing water pollution and flood risk caused by farming. The site must be agreed with Natural England and identified in a feasibility study or a water or water-holding feature management plan, previously provided through CSF.

When this item can’t be used

This item can’t be used:

  • if it will interrupt the free movement of fish; or
  • on environmental or historic features, or features that are of value to wildlife.

How this item will benefit the environment

Silt filtration barriers will slow the movement of water in ditches, protecting streams and rivers from pollutants and reduce downstream flooding. If successful, this item will lead to a reduction in:

  • downstream flooding; and
  • sediment and nutrient loss from field drains.


Applicants will need to get advice and relevant consents from the Environment Agency and an internal drainage board before they apply. Submit a copy of their advice and any consents with the application.

Also send dated photographs of the existing site with the application for this item. With permission from Natural England, advice and consent can be received up until 29 May 2015; applicants can discuss this with their local CSF officer.

On the land

Successful applicants will need to follow the requirements set out in their water management plan previously provided through CSF.

They will need to make sure they have all the consents and permissions from the relevant authorities before starting on the work.

Keeping records

Successful applicants will need to keep:

  • dated photographs to show that the work has been carried out to specification (submit these with any claim and show them on request); and
  • any bank statements, consents and receipted invoices connected to the work, and produce them on request.

How to carry out this item

The following section gives advice on carrying out this item successfully. A successful applicant’s feasibility study or water management plan will include site-specific guidance for locating and constructing the barriers. However, it’s likely several barriers will be needed to slow flows successfully throughout the length of the watercourse.

Design and construction

The design of the structure and the materials used will depend on the conditions set out in the management plan or feasibility study. They could include:

  • timber piling or horizontal planks (there should be gaps between the boards to allow water flow);
  • stone filled gabions;
  • recycled plastic drainage material, e.g. Aquadyne;
  • willow stakes and woven branches for more natural appearance; and
  • dams that allow for overflows in its centre (this prevents scouring of the ends of the barrier or dam)

Using willow stakes will help anchor the structure as they may grow. This style of construction may not last very long so allow for repair or reconstruction during the agreement.

The main function of the barrier is to slow and filter water flow through ditches or temporary water holding features, rather than dam and hold water. Use capital item: Check dams (RP12) to dam or hold water.

Remove trapped silt

Trapped silt will need to be monitored and removed at least once a year. Make sure it’s only disposed of in areas that have been set out in your agreement. The maintenance must be done carefully and regularly to avoid polluting sensitive bodies of water downstream or sensitive habitats on land.

Use this item with other measures

This item should be used as part of a package of measures to reduce surface water runoff and related water pollution problems on a farm.

This item can be used on the same area as the following items:

Published 2 March 2015