UNITED Utilities and National Trust have joined forces to improve river quality at Quarry Bank near Wilmslow.

The two organisations are exploring how community action and the creation of ponds and wetlands could benefit river quality at Quarry Bank.

The partnership began two years ago when the organisations came together to identify and address flood risk challenges affecting the site.

Now it has grown into a larger project to develop options to boost biodiversity as well as reducing spills from a local storm overflow by using nature based solutions to manage rainwater.

Quarry Bank mill is one of Britain’s best preserved industrial heritage sites.

Operated by the National Trust, the former cotton mill’s history is embedded in the water which flows down the River Bollin and that reliance continues today to support the operational water wheel and hydropower generation for the site.

However, the River Bollin is not immune to the growing environmental challenges because of a changing climate.

Now United Utilities and National Trust are working together to develop short, medium and longer term plans to enhance river water quality, boost biodiversity and engage with visitors and the local community.

Mark Sewell, United Utilities wastewater catchment manager, explained: “During the last 12 months, we’ve worked together with the National Trust to deliver community events, leaflet drops and a school visit to engage with local residents on how they can play their part to improve river health simply by putting wet wipes in the bin.

“We’ve had positive feedback that peoples’ awareness of what shouldn’t be flushed down loos is increasing which is very encouraging.”

The next steps could include creating or enlarging existing ponds and wetlands at Quarry Bank and the surrounding area.

As well as keeping rainwater out of the sewer network, these would also create new habitats for local wildlife.

“We’re in the early stages of this work and we’ll be using scientific modelling to measure success.

“We’re excited to be working together to develop these plans for generations to come,” said Kathryn Heaton, National Trust Riverlands project manager.

Looking to the future, the two organisations are exploring how collaborative planning with other partners could further reduce flood risk in the River Bollin catchment area, including at Quarry Bank where the impact of flooding and erosion is impacting on public rights of way.