Helping farmers, growers and landowners with sustainable catchment-sensitive farming

Free help and advice on protecting soil, water and wildlife

Catchment Sensitive Farming

Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF) means making sure that all water leaving the farm from rainfall, springs, rivers, streams and ditches is uncontaminated.  No polluting substances must be allowed to flow from fields and farmyards.  All agricultural operations should therefore ensure pesticides, fertilisers and other substances, including soil, do not cause environmental damage.  The definition of CSF extends to keeping soils healthy and that air pollution by substances such as ammonia is minimised.  The term ‘catchment’ refers to…

‘….an area in which water falling on or flowing across the land surface drains into a particular stream or river and flows ultimately through a single point or outlet.’

In 2019 the Island’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) formalised a partnership with the Environment Agency and Natural England to deliver a CSF Project across the Isle of Wight.  The project will provide well informed advice and guidance to farmers and landowners on all aspects of farming operations to protect the Island’s catchments.  The project officer, Mark Simmons, will also provide assistance with applications for grant funding to protect water resources, address diffuse and point source pollution and enhance wetland habitats.

The England Catchment Sensitive Farming Initiative (ECSFDI) has been active for several years covering 40 priority catchments in England.  The Island’s CSF Project represents our delivery of that initiative.

Farmers’ Questions

Q1. Is water leaving your farm via rivers streams and ditches as clean as the rain falling on your fields?

Q2. Is run-off from your farmyard and fields free of silt, pesticides, fertilisers, slurry, silage liquor, or FYM contamination?

If the answer is ‘No’ to either question, please refer to the ‘Issues’ pages and note the new rules for farmers regarding water.