nglian Water is a water company based in the East of England, responsible for water supply and recycling for more than 6 million people. Anglian Water was interested in exploring the potential to use a catchment nutrient balancing (CNB) scheme in defined catchments as an alternative means of managing and reducing nutrients (phosphorus and/or nitrogen) in water catchments. 3Keel was commissioned to help Anglian Water in developing a successful approach through engaging with farmers to obtain feedback on potential elements of the proposed scheme elements.
The project involved designing and delivering a multi-method engagement approach combining an online survey and one-to-one interviews. The survey reached nearly 100 farmers; a representative sample was then followed up with a representative sample by phone for deeper insights.
The consultation found that farmers were unanimously interested in learning more about and potentially participating in a new CNB scheme in the catchment. The findings reveal several critical elements whose inclusion could inform the success of a new scheme. Key among these was a desire for any new scheme to be flexible in intervention choice and implementation, light on administrative requirements, and offer a price that was perceived as fair value. An interesting finding, given the current prevalence of ‘reverse auctions’ for catchment management, was that a “flat price plus” model was overwhelmingly preferred as a price mechanism option.
The findings will be used by Anglian Water to help design their new CNB scheme in a way that takes into consideration farmer motivations and interests, such that uptake is strong and delivery successful once the scheme has been rolled out.