In the UK, the River Tame catchment covers an area of about 1,400 km2 and forms the northern portion of the Birmingham Conurbation. In the 1960s, wet weather conditions in Birmingham could result in the total depletion of oxygen in the River Trent below the Tame confluence. Construction of a system of purification lakes at Lea Marston, below the major polluting discharges, was completed in the early 1980s. Today, the operation of the Lea Marston Lakes significantly improves the quality of the Tame. However, wet weather pollution episodes in the Tame continues to have a severe impact on water quality in the Trent and put major fisheries at risk. This paper reports on the outcome of an integrated environmental impact and cost-benefit assessment modelling study into the future strategic management of the Lea Marston Lakes. The study demonstrated that the Lea Marston Lakes provide an economically justifiable method for reducing the water quality impact of the Birmingham conurbation and as a result will continue to be operated.

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