Mersey basin Campaign

The Way We Worked

When the then Secretary of State for the Environment, Michael Heseltine, first asked about cleaning up the River Mersey in 1981, he was told it would take at least 25 years, and cost £4000m. But he was also repeatedly informed that he could not simply clean up the Liverpool end of the river, as there would still be pollution coming into the system upriver.

The scale and complexity of the clean up was clearly too great for any one authority or agency to tackle alone. Peter Walton, a civil servant who was heavily involved in setting up the Mersey Basin Campaign commented at the time:

“The task of cleaning up the Mersey – the watercourses and waterside areas of the whole catchment – is a comprehensive and formidable one. The task calls for a team effort, in which the inputs of all sectors encourage each other and generate a momentum of improvement greater than what could be achieved otherwise.”

And so the Mersey Basin Campaign was born in 1985, a partnership aiming to bring together public, private and voluntary sector action. This was groundbreaking in terms of British administrative practice. At the time most partnerships, where they existed at all, were between the public (government) and private (business) sectors.

This collection pulls together a set of resources relating to the Campaign’s partnership approach – from academic papers to case studies looking at the involvement of some of our corporate partners, as well as reflections from the last Chief Executive, Walter Menzies, on some of the critical success factors of the organisation.

To hear more from some of the Campaign’s key partners, stakeholders and staff, why not explore the Campaign voices collection as well?