BEACON Water Quality Project

In October 2014 BEACON was awarded funding as part of United Utilties’ Catchment Wise Funding to carry out a project that focused on the water quality of Birkin, Mobberley, Marthall, Pedley and Sugar Brooks, in the western end of the Bollin catchment.  The catchment area covered can be seen in the map below.

RDWP Catchment Map

These water bodies are currently failing water quality standards, and evidence suggests that this is due to an increase in phosphates from agriculture and industry.

Dam in Birkin BrookMuddy gates and tracks poaching

As part of this project, BEACON volunteers carried out walkover surveys along these brooks, to try and find out what the major causes of Rural Diffuse Water Pollution (RDWP) were in these areas.  Over thirty volunteers were trained to look for signs of Rural Diffuse Water Pollution and a further ten volunteers were also trained in how to digitise the data collected .

BEACON RDWP Volunteers


The information we got from the surveys showed no major diffuse pollution issues.  However, there were 426 sources of diffuse pollution identified and of these sites, eight were significant, 121 were graded as having a localised and limited impact and 291 were graded potential with no risk observed at the time of inspection.


Volunteers, farmers and landowners were engaged in a workshop held in June 2015, which aimed to let them know BEACON’s findings and signpost them to where they can get further support to be water friendly in their land management practices.

For more information on the results of the BEACON water quality surveys, you can download an information pack here.