River Leam Catchment Pilot

The River Leam is a tributary of the River Avon that flows through rural Warwickshire and the town of Leamington Spa. The Rains Brook, River Stowe, River Itchen and Radford Brook form its major tributaries, with the catchment including the town of Southam and Draycote Water reservoir.

The Issues

The main elements affecting water quality within the River Leam and its tributaries are high levels of pesticides, phosphates and sediment within the water. These are being affected by lots of different factors, including domestic, agricultural and industrial sources. Examples of some of these factors are:

Domestic Sources

  • Washing detergents
  • Slug pellets
  • Sewage
  • Sediment transfer through overland runoff from gardens.

Agricultural/Industrial Sources

  • Discharge from Sewage Treatment Works
  • Fertilisers
  • Slug Pellets
  • Cattle trampling of river banks
  • Sediment transfer through overland runoff from fields.

The Stakeholders

Solving these issues and improving water quality will take time, skills and money. As such, the following people and organisations have come together over the past year to start figuring out a plan of action:

The Outcomes

Discussions within the group so far have determined that all the environmental issues within the catchment interlink and an action to improve one can have beneficial impacts on many others. As a result we are looking more widely than just the water quality issues and want to focus on improving the environment of the Leam Catchment as a whole. The following ten target outcomes highlight the current focus areas of the stakeholder group:

Catchment Wide Target Outcomes

The Catchment Plan is now live!

You can view the plan below. This is a live document that will be reviewed and updated regularly. Please get in touch using the contact details on the Further information section to let us know your thoughts.

  • Reduction in phosphate levels.
  • Reduction in pesticide levels.
  • Increase in sustainable woodlands. 
  • Improvement in the quality and range of habitats.
  • Reduction in flood risk.
  • Improvement or stabilisation of fish stocks.
  • Restoration of modified sections of watercourse.
  • Improvement to quality of existing access routes.
  • Increase in public awareness and participation in environmental improvements.
  • Ultimately achievement of Good Ecological Status in all water bodies by 2027.

How you can get involved

Visit our Crowdmap site

We are currently trying to understand the concerns and collate the knowledge and expertise of those who live, work and/or visit the catchment. To assist in this we have launched an online mapping site where you can report your thoughts and observations on environmental concerns or your suggestions for actions you think should be included within the catchment plan.

Email us

Let us know your views or if you would like to get more involved in the projects or be kept up to date on progress.


We will be identifying volunteer opportunities that the stakeholder organisations may be running to help deliver environmental improvements within the catchment. Watch this space and we’ll announce any opportunities on here. In the meantime please post on the Crowdmap site or email us if you are keen to get involved.

Coming Soon

  • Tree planting - funding has been provided by the Woodland Trust, Environment Agency and BIFFA to plant 6 hectare of woodland within the catchment during 2013.
  • Increased public involvement - In the new year we will be looking to place messages about the project in local publications, such as Parish magazines and newspapers, distribute flyers in libraries and the key organisation reception desks and set up visits to local schools.
  • More surveys to determine the current condition of river habitats and the species currently living in the watercourses.

Further Information

If you would like to know more about the River Leam Pilot or would like to join our mailing list to receive brief updates on the activities being undertaken and the catchment plan please email us: