Defra is planning to extend the Demonstration Test Catchments (DTC) programme for 3 years to continue ongoing research on the catchment-scale mitigation of agricultural water pollution. DTC was commissioned in 2009 and established a nationally coordinated programme of work focused on four study catchments, which are broadly representative of land use and farming practice across England and Wales. These are the Eden (Cumbria), Wensum (Norfolk), Avon (Hampshire) and Tamar (Devon/Cornwall).
The main priority of this tender is to identify suppliers capable of ensuring consistency from Phase 1 (2009-2015) to Phase 2 (2015-2017). It will take forward the ongoing research framework to support the evaluation of mitigation measures, which have been installed in the catchments through the ongoing DTC-Measures project, which runs from 2012 to 2017.
The ongoing work must closely follow the methodologies and practices established in phase 1 to ensure continuity of data collection (see page 30 and appendix 2). It will take place within the established DTC study areas on the Eden, Wensum, and Avon and Tamar catchments. Because the work is taking place on commercial farms, the continuity of good working relationships with the farmers and other local stakeholders collaborating with DTC must be supported and maintained.
In order to ensure that a coordinated approach will be taken nationally, a single contract will be awarded, which will require a consortium of research groups to cover the four DTC catchments whilst achieving a co-ordinated approach to delivering the contract.
No compulsory legal structure of the consortium is required at this stage.