Somerset Catchment Market

EnTrade is operating a Catchment Market in parts of the River Tone and Parrett catchments (including the Yeo), to improve water quality and biodiversity.

Wessex Water is offering payments to farmers to create projects on farm which improve the environment.

"This is a win-win for your farm and the environment. Wessex Water is actively supporting this approach to offset phosphorus to enable more holistic environmental benefits to be delivered than through asset improvements alone.” Ruth Barden, Director of Catchment and Environmental at Wessex Water.

These on-farm environmental projects are required to ‘offset’ nutrient and bio-diversity losses for other industries, for example water companies and building developers. Through the EnTrade Catchment Market these organisations are willing to pay farmers to implement projects which help them meet their obligations to the environment.

We invite you to express your interest to participate in this Catchment Market. Providing your land falls within the target areas shown on the maps below and your projects meet the basic criteria, you could earn a financial return.

To be eligible you need to register your interest no later than Monday 18 January 2021. There is no disadvantage to registering your interest, but you have to register your interest before this deadline in order to participate in the Catchment Market.

Please click register or view further information below.


The eligible nature-based projects include:

  • Growing cover crops (including under-sown maize)
  • Livestock watercourse exclusion fencing
  • Hedgerow planting
  • Woodland creation
  • Wetland / pond creation
  • Edge of field / in-field buffer strips
  • Arable reversion to species rich grassland

We are on hand to support you in understanding the options we are looking for and tailoring them to your land - please get in contact with any questions or queries.

Please contact FWAG South West:

Milly Bowden (all general enquiries)
Mob: 07483 051798 Email:

Jo Oborn (Tone catchment)

Roy Hayes (Parrett & Yeo)

Details of the full eligibility criteria are given below:


We are looking for projects that meet the following criteria:

  • Land parcels within the area shown on the map below
  • Generally heavier soil types at risk of run-off or erodible soils
  • Land with high connectivity to watercourses through proximity or slope
  • Land managed intensively for arable or forage production
  • Target areas are shown in the map below

Project length

  • You can choose the length of contract you sign up to for your projects.
  • You must have control of the land for the duration of the project, this could be through land ownership or having sufficient length of tenure on the land.
  • Projects like overwinter cover crops lend themselves to shorter term contracts of between 1 and 5 years, whereas projects like woodland and wetland creation lend themselves to longer contracts of up to 30 years.
  • You can find out more about contract lengths when you register your interest to participate in the Catchment Market. Please click register or view further information below.


How do I register my interest in Catchment Markets?

  • Click register to provide basic information about your proposed projects.
  • We’ll then assess whether your projects meet the basic criteria of the catchment market and let you know the outcome of this.
  • If your projects meet the basic criteria, we’ll then ask you to provide some further detail about the projects so we can better estimate what you could earn.
  • We will then let you know what you could expect to earn from your projects, and you can decide whether to participate in the catchment market or not.


What is a Catchment Market?

The Somerset Catchment Market is an income opportunity for farmers who generate environmental benefits from their nature-based projects, specifically water quality and biodiversity. A known quantity of these environmental benefits is known as a ‘credit’.

There are a multitude of private companies, public bodies and investors who are increasingly willing to invest in these nature-based projects to generate these environmental credits.

Some organisations have a regulated compulsory requirement to do this, whereas for others it is a voluntary decision.

A market exists for environmental credits related to water quality and biodiversity improvement, carbon reduction and natural flood management.

The Catchment Market is where buyers and sellers are brought together to trade these environmental credits. The EnTrade platform ensures trades are made at the optimum market price. That is a price that both buyers and sellers are happy with.

“Wessex Water is trialling a Catchment Market as part of our contribution to a green economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic in our region. We hope that, by doing so, we will not only inject significant investment into the community and the farming industry without adding cost to our customers’ water and sewerage bills, but also demonstrate how market-led solutions can deliver better outcomes for both farmers and the natural environment.” - Guy Thompson, Group Director of Environmental Futures as Wessex Water

Who buys the credits?

  • Private companies e.g. water companies, housing developers
  • Public bodies e.g. government, local councils
  • Private investors

Water companies have a regulatory requirement to reduce phosphorus entering watercourses from their wastewater treatment processes. In addition to investing in upgrading wastewater treatment processes, some water companies are also investing in schemes that help reduce phosphorus runoff from farmland.

When one industry delivers an environmental benefit on behalf of another industry in this way, it is known as ‘offsetting’.

There are a growing number of offsetting opportunities available to farmers.

Housing developers will soon have a mandatory requirement to deliver biodiversity net gain from their developments. In addition to this, development in some local-authority planning areas must mitigate the adverse effects arising from increased nutrient loading to local waterbodies and provide a nutrient-neutral environment. These housing developers are willing to fund farmers to deliver these nutrient and biodiversity offsets on their behalf.

Other markets are emerging for carbon and natural flood mitigation, credits for these environmental services can also be generated from farmers nature-based projects.

How do farmers make money?

Through Catchment Markets farmers can create nature-based projects on farmland that delivers nutrient and biodiversity credits. Through the EnTrade platform farmers can sell these credits to organisations needing to offset their own impact on the environment. This is a new opportunity for farmers to earn a financial return whilst at the same time improving their local environment.

A project that has a bigger environmental benefit will generate more credits and therefore more revenue for the farmer.

Farmers can potentially generate multiple environmental credits from the same nature-based project, and therefore the same project can attract investment from a variety of buyers all interested in different environmental outcomes.

A Catchment Market gives farmers the unique ability to ‘stack’ revenues from multiple buyers. This means projects have the potential to generate cash flows greater than the current land use or alternative sources of environmental funding.

Benefits to farmers

  • Be a price maker not a price taker
  • Connect to buyers and revenue streams that you would otherwise not have access to
  • Earn better financial returns from less productive land
  • Safe, secure and diversified income
  • Flexibility: shorter and longer term contracts available
  • A secure contract with a well-established utility company

How is the price set?

Once we’ve confirmed your project/s meet the basic criteria and you’ve provided further information on those eligible project/s, you will be invited to bid for funding on the EnTrade platform. Farmers are able to set their own minimum price to guarantee a return they are happy with. You can edit or delete your bid at regular intervals until the bidding closes and whilst price is a factor, the quality of the project and its ability to generate environmental credits is equally important.

We are currently inviting bids for arable reversion and cover crops through the Somerset Catchment market

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