Skip to content

Natural Environment

Find us on our Brackenhurst Campus in Southwell, a historic and stylish market town some 14 miles from the centre of Nottingham. With its 200 hectares of woodland, wetland, farm and grasslands, it's an outdoor classroom for fieldwork and research – literally a breath of fresh air.

ARES, Mountains


Research in this area explores environmental issues, including the principles underlying the exploitation of natural resources, and waste management.

Horticulture at Brackenhurst

Research Areas

  • Nutrient cycling, eutrophication and algal bloom control in aquatic environments
  • Pollutants in soils, waters and sediments
  • Integrated waste-water treatment and water-energy-food security
  • Peatland management
  • Natural flood attenuation
  • Application of GIS, Remote Sensing, UAVs and spatial analysis
  • Glaciers and associated geomorphological change since the Neoglacial
  • Environmental effects of space weather and changes in the geomagnetic field

Case Studies

Mitigation of harmful algal bloom and eutrophication

Professor Gang Pan


Harmful algal blooms (HABs) are a global environmental problem that affects public health, water quality, ecological function services and local industries. It is a very difficult problem to tackle worldwide and there is a great need for novel technologies that can control HABs in a cost-effective and environmental friendly way. Professor Gang Pan and his team have developed a novel technique that can use modified local soil (MLS technology) to remove algae, improve water quality, remediate polluted sediment, reduce internal loads and make the excess harmful nutrients in eutrophic water a resources for aquatic ecological restoration and biodiversity conservation. Impacts include local government policy and industrial application for water protection in China and in New Zealand.


The technology has been commercialised in China by Beijing Green Eco-environmental Technology Ltd (BGEET) and is used in various engineering projects to achieve immediate and sustainable effects in harmful algal bloom control and aquatic ecological restoration projects. The technology has already been used for a 30m RMB (c. £3.4m) project and further economic, environmental and societal impact in China is anticipated (official application attestation issued by BGEET). The technology has also showed high impact in New Zealand freshwater protection at central government, regional council, local council, local communication tribes, and academia levels (summarised documents from New Zealand industry and universities are ongoing). Industries in both China and New Zealand have demonstrated interest in using patent technologies developed by Gang Pan regarding lake restoration that may be produced with Nottingham Trent University in the future (official application attestation issued by BGEET).

Peatland management for biodiversity conservation and water resources

Dr Jill Labadz, Dr Ben Clutterbuck, Guaduneth Chico

Peatlands play a key role in the global carbon cycle, water supply and downstream flow regulation. The conservation and restoration of these environments is of current international interest and Nottingham Trent University (NTU) is collaborating with a range of partners in the UK and internationally to help enhance our knowledge of peatland degradation and to monitor the impact of restoration.

NTU is part of a collaboration, (led by the University of Manchester) with a number of other UK Universities, and research partners that is undertaking a review of catchment management for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) UK Peatland Programme in 2017/2018.

Working with the National Trust, NTU are providing evidence of the impact of their conservation work on water quality, water flow, erosion and vegetation which will be used to inform future conservation projects and policy.

Collaborating with Moors for the Future Partnership, NTU is developing methods to monitor changes in vegetation, exposed peat and rates of erosion following restoration using UAV technology as part of MoorLIFE 2020 (an EU LIFE funded project).

NTU is working with the Government of Bizkaia (north Spain) to quantify the success of an EU LIFE+ project to restore blanket bog in the Basque Country, as well as to work with other regional governments to identify further areas for restoration.


Our current research projects include:

  • Purification of toxic micropollutants in rural drinking waters using advanced nano materials (National Key R&D Program of China 2017YFA0207204) - Professor Gang Pan
  • Monitoring the impact of gully blocking on GCR designated features in degraded blanket bog (National Trust and Nottingham Trent University) - Dr Jill Labadz, Dr Ben Clutterbuck
  • Monitoring the impact of blanket bog conservation using an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle(part of MoorLIFE 2020, an EU LIFE funded project) - Dr Ben Clutterbuck
  • Evaluating controls on supraglacial lake formation and evolution (ESA Grant) - Anne Stefaniak, Dr  Nicholas Midgley, Dr  Ben Clutterbuck, Dr Jillian Labadz
  • Evaluating the roles of debris supply and ice dynamics in supraglacial lake formation. (QRA Grant) - Anne Stefaniak, Dr Nicholas Midgley
  • Monitoring peatland restoration success (Post LIFE+ Ordunte Sostenible) - Dr Ben Clutterbuck, Guaduneth Chico León

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 941 8418