A new task team will address issues such as farm run-off and sewerage in the Taw and Torridge Estuary.

A new task team has been set up to monitor and improve water quality in the Taw and Torridge Estuary.

The team will be made up of both North Devon and Torridge District Council members, working with the North Devon Biosphere, Environment Agency and South West Water.

A key goal will be to reduce and prevent pollution from farms while another is to ensure that the public sewerage systems in place have adequate capacity to safely deal with storm water storage and surge events.

The team has also responded to the Environment Agency’s consultation on the ‘River Basin Plan’, asking for more funding to be sought to boost projects dealing with upstream issues in the area.

Councillor Alan Whittle, lead member for the environment at TDC, said: “Farm run off and also sewage entering the Taw and Torridge account for 50 per cent and 25 per cent respectively of poor water quality incidents.

“More needs to be done and it is vitally important that the quality of our coastal and river water is kept to a high standard to ensure that the fishing, boating and enjoyment of our waters are fully protected and safeguarded for future generations.”

Councillor Rodney Cann, NDC’s executive member of environment, added: “The Biosphere has been working on a number of exciting projects which all play a part in holding back water surges, which we know have a significant effect on water quality.

“These projects include the mire restoration project on Exmoor, upstream tree-planting schemes and the restoration of culm grass, which retains much more water than normal grasses.

“We are hopeful that these projects and other measures will help to prevent water surges and improve the water quality of the Taw and Torridge Estuary.”