The Westcountry Rivers Trust develops PES in Devon into two pilot sites, picking specific high impact services and communities. These will compare independent PES development (Estuary) in contrast to leveraged PES, using Upstream Thinking programme, one of the UK's leading PES examples to leverage additional PES support by looking at the layering of service provision with other buyers but capitalising on existing transaction costs. Additionally, it will also look at the scale and location of the solution working from catchment scale interventions, at the source of the impact (e.g. catchment), to local interventions, at the point of impact (e.g. lake/estuary).

Salcombe-Kingsbridge estuary, Gara & Slapton catchments   

Looking at bathing water, tourism, flooding and shellfisheries.

Lake Roadford and river Wolf

Based site on the river Tamar upper catchment, looking at drinking water and tourism.


The Westcountry Rivers Trust works to restore and protect rivers, estuaries and coasts in West of England and has a long history of investigating PES through the WATER project. This work showed that PES can work when targeted at businesses with a high dependency on the local natural environment and where that dependency cannot be easily transferred to other areas. Where businesses are reliant on the flow of water through a river catchment to a lake, an estuary or other acute receiving water body and are impacted significantly by degradation in the quality and quantity of water and the solution is of a sufficiently small scale, there is a clear economic case for securing supply and building long term business resilience through PES.

This has been exemplified by schemes such as Upstream Thinking (UST), a South West Water funded initiative that was born out of the WATER project. Whilst this was a success both the UST scheme and the WATER project was limited in facilitating other PES opportunities either independently or leverednin through other schemes. WRT will run a pilot that builds on this working with SW Lakes Trust, Devon Maritime Forum and South Devon AONB.