The Tees Rivers Trust, Northumbrian Water and The Rivers Trust are working with farm businesses, private industry, Natural England, Environment Agency and community interest partners in three Tees river sub-catchments (20 waterbodies) to tackle diffuse water pollution in watercourses and improve river water quality through the North East Catchments Hub. The North East Catchments Hub is an exciting new collaboration, created by Northumbrian Water and The Rivers Trust, and supported by North East environmental partners, to drive integrated catchment management in the region.

Following a successful first phase, we are seeking two Agriculture Business Specialists, one Agronomy Specialist and one Farm Business Specialist, with distinct but complementary skill sets across agronomy, soil health, green finance and farm business. The successful candidates will join an existing catchment management and biodiversity team at Tees Rivers Trust, whose purpose is to enhance biodiversity and help farmers reduce the levels of phosphate, nitrate and pesticides entering the water environment and work within a wider regional team at the North East Catchments Hub, integrating with other agricultural advisors within the region.

Over 14 years, the Tees Rivers Trust have developed close working relations with farm businesses throughout the Tees. We aim to understand the needs of the business and integrate this with our environmental understanding to investigate and design cost beneficial measures that de-risk farms from and increase compliance with Farming Rules for Water whilst also making a saving for the farm. The added benefit of well-placed interventions is an improvement to water quality and aquatic biodiversity.

An important part of this programme is to identify and develop measures that can generate significant income for farms through Catchment Nutrient Balancing approaches (offsetting end-of-pipe removal of nutrients by working to address other sources for the same or greater impact but wider benefits) and from creation and the sale of biodiversity net gain units. You will therefore ideally have a working knowledge of these emerging markets.

Key results expected

The post holders will develop an in-depth understanding of the target catchment areas, develop key relationships with land managers and other agricultural stakeholders, and lead on engagement plans to inform farm plans and assessments which should be completed in target areas by March 2025.

The post-holders will facilitate farm cluster groups in the Leven, Skerne and Clow Beck catchments, working with existing groups where appropriate, deliver a programme of farmer/agronomy engagement and training events, and undertake one-to-one farm visits to promote resource protection, habitat creation and a reduction in diffuse water pollution from agriculture, with a focus on phosphate but with a view to achieving wider environmental benefits.

The post-holders will raise awareness of the potential business opportunities of improving water quality and biodiversity by reducing diffuse pollution from agriculture through Catchment Nutrient Balancing approaches and other market-led opportunities.

Engagement with farmers will seek to create, through a voluntary approach, a vibrant peer led approach with the aim of increasing a sense of ownership and achievement within the farming community in relation to improving water quality in the targeted catchments.

The post-holders will work with the team at the North East Catchments Hub to co-design farm-based schemes and shape agricultural improvements and interventions that can be included in wider catchment plans that will lead to reduction of diffuse pollution and better river water quality into the future.

For more information, person and job description and application process, please visit the link below.