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  • Bristol Avon Catchment Partnership

    About the partnership

    Bristol Avon Catchment Partnership logoThe Bristol Avon Catchment Partnership (BACP) comprises a range of organisations, groups, authorities and individuals dedicated to working together to improve the water environment and provide wider benefits for people and nature at a catchment scale - known as a Catchment Based Approach (CaBA).

    The partnership formed in 2012 with support of central government and has produced a Catchment Plan to work towards achieving a better water environment for all.

    The key purpose of the Bristol Avon Catchment Partnership is to coordinate and facilitate partnership working to improve the water environment.

    BACP area smallmap

    The map above shows the catchment area.

    In its entirety, the catchment drains over 2,800km² of Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and Somerset, with the Bristol Avon River itself flowing through the dramatic Avon Gorge and into the Severn Estuary.

    There is a strong farming heritage, particularly in the North of the catchment, and the catchment landscape is important for wildlife, angling, navigation and recreation.

    The Bristol Avon and its tributaries flow through the towns of Malmesbury, Chippenham, Trowbridge, Frome and Radstock, and in its lower reaches, through Bath and Bristol. The catchment is home to more than one million people. 

    The Bristol Avon Catchment also encompasses the North Somerset Coastal Streams and the Lower Severn Vale sub catchments.

    View a map of the key rivers and waterbodies within the catchment.

    The Water Environment

    SunsetThe water environment includes all rivers, streams and wetlands that drain within the catchment landscape. It also includes all the different types of landscape that we build on, cultivate and modify. Human interventions have an impact on the water cycle and can, for example, lead to an increased risk of pollution leaching in to our watercourses and ground water aquifers. 

    Why do we need to work in partnership?

    The government aims to ensure all waterbodies in England meet good ecological status by 2027. Any waterbody that does not meet good ecological status is classified as failing under the European Union’s Water Framework Directive.

    These are just some of the water-based challenges within the Bristol Avon Catchment that can be addressed more effectively by working together:

    • Only 11% of the catchment is classified as having ‘good ecological status’.

    Although this is typical of other catchments in the UK, it demonstrates the scale of the challenge to meet the Water Framework Directive targets.

    • 89% fail to meet the targets.

    Due to factors including physical modification, phosphate levels, sediment load and low fish populations.

    • Some landowners are losing valuable topsoil, nutrients and pesticides.

    Due to erosion, run-off or leaching; sometimes linked to poor soil structure and compaction

    • Heavy rainfall running off rural and urban areas causes surface water and river flooding in specific locations.

    Tidal flooding continues to be a threat in the lower reaches of the catchment.

    Contact Us

    To contact the Bristol Avon Catchment Partnership please email:

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