Essex Rivers Hub

This catchment only includes the Bourne Brook which covers an area of 38.2km2 with an entire length  of 17.3km, there are no upstream water bodies. The predominant land use in the catchment is agriculture, supporting mainly arable fields and several small patches of mixed woodland. Bourne Brook rises at Wethersfield and flows southeast through the villages of Blackmore End, Gosfield and Greenstead Green before joining the main River Colne between Halstead and Earls Colne. River flows are derived from both aquifers and surface run-off.

The catchment has an overall Water Framework Directive (WFD) status of moderate and is failing for aquatic invertebrates (WFD status of moderate) and phosphate (WFD status of poor).

Phosphate failures are a catchment wide issue and inputs are from point and diffuse sources. Point sources are two sewage treatment works, other sewage outlets and water company activities. Diffuse sources are agricultural practices. Further investigation is needed to determine the impact of agricultural practices on phosphate levels throughout the year, therefore sampling will be carried out in the winter also. If agriculture is found to be having negative impacts then farm visits will be conducted to offer advice to land managers on how to reduce their impact. Also Anglian Water will be approached to discuss the introduction of phosphate stripping to the sewage treatment works to reduce their impact.

The reasons for the aquatic invertebrate failures are currently unknown and more investigation is needed. This includes investigating the impact of low dissolved oxygen levels in summer and autumn.

This catchment is classified as good for fish, hydrology and dissolved oxygen although there are reductions in flow and dissolved oxygen in summer and autumn.









Website key stakeholders:

Environment Agency logo      Essex Wildlife Trust logo           

Design by LTD Design Consultants and build by Garganey Consulting based on an original concept by Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust