What is the Blueprint for the Culm?

Creating a 25-year vision for the River Culm and its catchment

The Blueprint for the Culm will be a long-term (at least 25-year) management plan that guides and informs all investment decisions in the River Culm Catchment.

It is being developed through a collaborative process involving residents, community organisations, businesses and statutory authorities so that it is informed by and has the widest possible support and ownership amongst those affected by its activities and outcomes.

Since June 2020, we have been gathering evidence, discussing ideas and consulting organisations and individuals across the catchment, to build up a picture of how the River Culm is performing. We established several Working Groups and organised a series of Catchment Adaptation Workshops exploring different themes. You can read a summary of the results on our Discover the Culm page.

In recent months we have developed a draft vision for the River Culm we want to see in the year 2050, which is:

The River Culm is celebrated as a lifeline that connects people with each other and with nature. Land across the catchment is managed to protect and enhance the River, throughout the seasons and as the climate changes, so that its waters run clear, it flourishes with wildlife, it has space to flow naturally and safely, and people can easily enjoy all of these benefits.

We have developed two images that we feel communicate this vision (NB, if you’d like to view these in detail and zoom in, you can download them by clicking on the title above each one:

The first is of the Upper Culm in summer:

The second is of the Culm Floodplain in winter:

Key features of these landscapes to note are:

  • more trees in the landscape
  • a patchwork of smaller fields and thicker hedgerows
  • more land making space for nature
  • more local food growing with care for nature
  • more ponds and wetlands
  • crystal-clear waters
  • more access to and along the river
  • outdoor activities and learning
  • homes built away from the floodplain
  • homes built using local, sustainable materials
  • space allowed for flooding to happen safely
  • beavers helping slow the flow
  • more energy generated locally
  • green transport solutions

We’re keen to get your thoughts on and responses to these visions. Have we captured the most important features of a landscape that is adapted to climate change and works well with nature to achieve a more resilient ecology and society?

Tell us what you think by completing this Google Form. We’ll display the results of the feedback on this page as we receive it (all data will be anonymous) so you can see what kind of responses are coming in and react to those, so the whole process is transparent.

You can also suggest ways that we can implement the vision, which will feed into our action planning phase. This is running through the summer and autumn of 2021, and we’ll be talking to funders, policy-makers and local communities to explore how we can collectively realise our vision. Please take part – by working together we can make this vision a reality!

Watch a recording of our June Forum event, where we launched the Vision:

Here’s a short video about the Blueprint and how we see it developing.

We have launched an interactive “visualisation” of the issues affecting the Culm which you can view here:

As you browse through you’ll see a number of statements reflecting our research into the state of the Culm. You can comment on these by visiting our survey.

comment on issues on the culm

This video is a recording of the first half hour of our Forum Launch event on 18 November 2020.

The Blueprint will be based on the latest science

We are undertaking detailed scientific research into the health and function of the river.

We have developed a comprehensive “Environmental Evidence Review” for the Culm and this can be downloaded from our Library by clicking the button below. It brings together all the available data for the Culm from a wide range of sources including land use and landscape, water quality, wildlife habitats, soils, flood and drought risk and heritage assets. This information underpins the Blueprint and will help us make the right decisions as we go along.

We’ve also commissioned an advanced flood and drought computer model of the River Culm catchment, which allows us to forecast what the impacts of climate change will be. We can run different scenarios and see how land use changes – like more tree and hedge-planting for example – could make the river more resilient.

Discover the science

An extract from the Environmental Evidence Review, showing water quality data from all the main watercourses in the catchment.

Building a case for investment

Investing in nature generate multiple benefits for many people

Profound changes continue to occur in the policy and funding landscape in which environmental groups operate in the UK. There is now an ever greater need for us to develop a compelling business case for investment in the local environment and we must actively seek opportunities to present this case to the right audiences, in the right places and using the right language required to be successful…

    As we begin to build the evidence base for the Blueprint, please complete our survey and tell us about your experience of the Culm .

    Complete the Survey

    What does climate resilience mean, how do we know if we have it and what can we do to make people and nature more resilient?

    Watch our webinar on water resilience

    Find out how the Blueprint for the Culm will be created and how you can get involved in helping to shape the future of your place.

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    Latest Blueprint news…

    Find out about all the latest activities that have been happening for the Blueprint

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