Glossary

Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) –  An area of countryside designated by a government agency as having natural features of exceptional beauty and therefore given a protected status. To see AONBs within our catchments click here.

Catchment – An area of land where surface water converges to a single point.

Catchment Sensitive Farming – A programme delivering practical solutions and support to enable farmers and land managers to reduce diffuse water pollution from agriculture. Delivered by Natural England and the Environment Agency.

Confluence – Where two streams or rivers meet.

Countryside Stewardship –  A scheme which provides financial incentives for land managers to implement measures that look after the environment. To see the priority areas for water, click here.

Culvert – A man-made tunnel where the river goes underground.

Defra Department for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs – Government department responsible for the interests of farmers, the countryside, the environment, the rural economy, food, air and water.

Drinking Water Protection Areas – Designated areas or ‘safeguard zones’ in which the use of certain substances must be carefully managed to prevent the pollution of raw water sources that are used to provide drinking water.

Ecosystem – A community of living organisms (plants, animals and microbes) and the non-living components of their environment (air, water and soil), interacting as a system.

Environment Agency – Public body responsible for protecting and improving the environment in England. Responsible for a wide range of issues including river and coastal flood risk management, pollution control, water resources management, water quality, waste regulation and inland fisheries. Part of the Defra group.

Internal Drainage Board (IDB) – Public bodies that manage water levels in some areas where there is a special need for drainage.

Invasive Non-Native Species – a plant or animal species that is not native to a specific location and tends to spread to a degree believed to cause damage to the environment, human economy or human health.

Heavily modified waterbody – Part of the Water Framework Directive classifications of a waterbody. Heavily modified waterbodies could not achieve good ecological status without changes to physical modifications that have been made to the channel, such as reservoirs, channelisation or culverts,

Natural England – Public body responsible for protecting and improving England’s natural environment, particularly protected areas and species. Part of the Defra group.

Nitrate Vulnerable Zones – A nitrate vulnerable zone is a conservation designation of the Environment Agency for areas of land that drain into nitrate polluted waters, or waters which could become polluted by nitrates. Regulations on the use of nitrates and the timings of applications apply to these areas. To see Nitrate Vulnerable zones in our catchments, click here.

Protected areas – Areas with some level of protection (eg. from development or exploitation), usually due to an important natural feature. Includes National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Special Areas of Conservation, Special Protected Areas, National Nature Reserves and Sites of Special Scientific Interest. To see Protected Areas in our catchments, click here.

Riparian – On or related to riverbanks.

River Habitat Survey – A standardised method to characterise and assess the physical character of freshwater streams and small rivers. It is carried out along a 500m length of river. To see where surveys have been done, click here.

Riverfly survey – A national scheme for recording freshwater invertebrates. Invertebrates are affected by many factors, predominantly water quality, habitat diversity and flow rate and so give a good indication of the condition of a river. Too see results, click here.

Runoff – Water that drains off the land surface and may carry pollutants such as sediment or nutrients.

Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)  – A site identified under legislation as an area of special interest by reasons of its plants, animals, geology and/or natural features. To see SSSIs in our catchments, click here.

Site Importance for Natural Conservation (SINC) –  designations used by local authorities in England for sites that are locally important for nature conservation.

Surface water flooding – Flooding from sewers, drains, groundwater and runoff from land, small watercourses and ditches as a result of heavy rainfall.

Surface water safeguard zone – Areas in which actions are targeted to tackle the specific causes of Drinking Water Protected Area failures. This is a joint initiative between the Environment Agency and water companies to meet the drinking water requirements of the Water Framework Directive.

Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) Systems – designed to drain surface water in an environmentally-friendly or sustainable way, for example porous paving or filtration ponds which store excess water and remove pollutants.

Tributary – A smaller river or stream that joins a main river.

Water Framework Directive  – European legislation that commits member states to getting all waters into good ecological status. It requires the quality of rivers, lakes and groundwater to be monitored and classified, and actions put in place to improve them.

Waterbody – Sections of river or streams classified as a discrete unit for reporting by the Environment Agency.