Northumbrian Water is working with local businesses and volunteers in a two-pronged effort to protect the environment in Ingleby Barwick by reducing the risk of pollution and flooding.

Picture shows Water Ranger Tim Renshaw at Beckfields, Ingleby Barwick.

The company is supporting food outlets in the town to help them to reduce the amount of fats, oils and grease that enter local drains. Additionally, Northumbrian Water has expanded its award-winning Water Rangers initiative into the area.

Northumbrian Water has been working with Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council and local businesses to look at the waste disposal measures they have in place and to advise on the benefits of upgrading their facilities to reduce the fats, oils and grease that enters the sewerage network.

Pouring by-products of cooking, such as fats, oils and grease, down sinks in commercial or domestic properties can cause blockages that may result in flooding in the environment or even inside homes and businesses.

Helping local food outlets to understand and implement the measures they can take to stop this can reduce the likelihood of both pollution and property flooding.

Meanwhile, the introduction of the 1.4km ‘Beckfields, Ingleby Barwick’ Water Rangers route, patrolling Bassleton Beck, takes the total number of Water Ranger routes to 56 across the North East.

Volunteer Water Rangers patrol their allocated watercourses, which are prone to pollution, every week or fortnight and report on their findings immediately, enabling any potential pollution to be dealt with quickly.

Northumbrian Water’s Wastewater Director, Richard Warneford, said: "The Water Rangers initiative has been hugely successful and reflects our commitment to looking after the environment.

On a number of occasions, the initiative has helped us spot and deal with potential threats to the environment at the earliest possible opportunity. We are incredibly proud of the initiative and everyone who is a part of it.”

Water Rangers also report on issues that are not the responsibility of Northumbrian Water such fly tipping, fallen trees, abandoned shopping trolleys and missing life buoys so that this information can be passed on to relevant authorities.

Richard added: “It’s important to look at all opportunities to reduce pollution, as well as to react as quickly as possible when it happens. By working directly with such businesses as fast food outlets, we can help people to do more in the fight to protect the environment. The great thing is that, once they have installed things such as fat traps, then they can be doing their bit without even thinking about it."

Volunteer Water Ranger, Tim Renshaw, said: "The expanding Water Rangers scheme offers the opportunity for keen walkers and nature lovers to assist Northumbrian Water to champion the environment, protecting the local waterways for wildlife and for everyone’s benefit. This new route is an extremely pleasant walk through woodland where deer roam."

Tees Rivers Trust manager, Ben Lamb, said: "We are working alongside many partners through the Tees Catchment Partnership to improve water quality, understanding, enjoyment of the River Tees and its tributaries."

"The Water Rangers scheme is a great opportunity for volunteers to get involved with and learn more about watercourses. Eyes, feet and noses on the riverbank can gather multiple observations and data in one visit which can help, inform, direct our and other partners work. For example, spotting and logging invasive species and fly tipping as well as the good things such a catching a glimpse of an otter."

"We work closely with Northumbrian Water and are really pleased to see the new Water Ranger’s route on Bassleton Beck taking off. This is a small beck with much potential and the first hurdle in getting action on the ground has now been cleared, opening the way to building and implementing improvements which will benefit the beck and its surrounding community."

For more information about the Water Rangers scheme or alternatively e-mail or call 0191 301 6308.

Everyone can do their bit to keep watercourses and bathing waters in our region healthy and clean by only flushing toilet paper, pee and poo down the loo and by making sure that the drains that serve homes and businesses are connected to the correct sewer. Additionally, leaving fats, oils and grease to cool and then scraping them into the bin will help to reduce the chances of a blocked drain.