River Clun Restoration Strategy

Natural England commissioned this Strategy; it is two parts, the first by Atkins, published in April 2012 covers the catchment upstream of Newcastle and the Clun SAC and the second, published by Jacobs in April 2013, covers the Middle River Clun, Rivers Kemp and Unk. Both documents set out steps for recovery of the special habitats and species of the River Clun. It provides specific guidance on measures that need to be carried out, both adjacent to the river and also within the wider catchment to create a healthier river environment.

Recently fenced alder carr woodland and stream One of the key challenges facing the Strategy is that the part of the River Clun designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Special Area of Conservation (SAC) for its rare population of freshwater pearl mussel, is at the very bottom end of the river. This habitat is affected not only by what is done locally, but also by everything done in the river and the catchment upstream. Recovery of the protected site and the pearl mussel population is therefore dependent on actions throughout the whole catchment, not just change within the SSSI/SAC.

The Strategy sets out three key groups of measures that need to be delivered together to allow recovery of the River Clun’s characteristic habitats and species:

  • Solutions focussed on the SSSI/SAC. These measures are targeted at “doing the best” for the SSSI/SAC under current conditions. These focus on extending the lifespan of the current Pearl mussel population and assisting the recovery of other species through habitat enhancement.
  • Catchment-wide solutions. These are measures that need to be taken right across the Clun catchment in order to address the “root causes” of the current unfavourable condition of the SSSI/SAC. Particularly significant root causes are the fine sediment loads and other pollutants delivered by the river from the upstream catchment. Tackling the root causes of siltation and unnaturally high levels of nutrient is likely to require changes to land management, domestic waste water installations and surface water drainage.
  • Further studies and monitoring to help define actions more precisely in areas not covered by the studies to date, such as the tributaries to the Clun (particularly the Unk, Kemp) and monitoring to assess progress in the recovery of the habitats and species for which the River Clun is valued.

The documents are available below:

Diffuse pollution is one of the key issues identified in the Strategy. The Diffuse Water Pollution Plan for the River Teme (including the Clun), produced in 2010 for Natural England and the Environment Agency provides valuable further information on this issue.