SeaScapes is a partnership that will be investing £4m in the coastline between the rivers Tyne and Tees over the next four years.
As a key SeaScapes partner, Northumbrian Water is hosting the group’s new Beach Care Officer, Louise Harrington, within its Water Environment team, to help identify coastal improvements, as well as driving customer engagement and volunteering activity.
The move is part of a first year of activity for Northumbrian Water’s Water Environment team, as part of a pledge made in 2020 to go above and beyond its regulatory requirements to support projects that benefit customers and the environment.
Focusing on locations where people can enjoy areas around water, via public rights of way, the company asked customers and environmental experts to suggest places that could benefit from biodiversity, access, and water quality improvements.
Hosting Louise within the team allows for even broader, ongoing engagement with partners to enhance the region’s coastline.
The water environment initiative by Northumbrian Water has also helped deliver enhancements to a 12km stretch of one of Britain’s best loved walks.
The team has worked with partners including the Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust and its members to deliver the work on Lakeside Way, the multi-use track that circumnavigates Kielder Water in Northumberland.
The stretch between Kielder Waterside and Tower Knowe has been enhanced by improved signage and interpretation, a dedicated Ranger role for the area to support the local red squirrel population, and a new base for Kielder Osprey Watch activities.
Partners in the work at Kielder included the Kielder Water and Forest Park Development Trust, Northumberland Wildlife Trust, Red Squirrels Northern England, Northumbrian Water’s Branch Out fund and Forestry England.
Mike Madine, Head of Wastewater Service Planning, Quality and Performance at Northumbrian Water, said: “Establishing our Water Environment team and our pledge to go above and beyond regulatory requirements on supporting improvements to the water environment was a statement of intent, and a demonstration of our passion for, and commitment to, the environment.
“Our support for the SeaScapes partnership, and our work on Lakeside Way, are really exciting, because they show we are delivering on this commitment and set the stage for the coming years, when we look forward to helping to deliver even more for customers and the environment.
“We’ve worked with a wide range of partners and stakeholders in our first year because we know that we can make a bigger and longer-lasting impact for the environment when working together than any of us can alone, and this sets the tone for how we intend to keep working.”
Karen Daglish, SeaScapes Delivery Manager, said: “Thanks to partners including Northumbrian Water, and passionate, local volunteers, we are able to take action to tackle our ocean crisis. Every individual, family or group taking part in our beach clean events, surveys and litter picks plays a part in a bigger shift in mindsets as we protect and restore our ocean.”
The full project title is ‘Tyne to Tees, Shores and Seas – Seascape Partnership’, known as ‘SeaScapes’. The SeaScapes project aims to reveal the hidden heritage of our unique seascape, engaging its coastal communities and igniting stewardship of this amazing place for generations to come.
SeaScapes is a partnership of organisations across the natural, cultural and heritage sectors that have come together to better protect and celebrate the unique coastline and marine environment to six nautical miles out between the rivers Tyne and Tees. It’s also the UK’s first marine Landscape Partnership scheme.
SeaScapes focuses on the often-overlooked Magnesian Limestone coast between the Rivers Tyne and Tees in North East England, bound in character by unique geology, the natural environment and a shared cultural heritage.
SeaScapes’ delivery partners are the following organisations:
Key stakeholders include: Heugh Battery Museum, Groundwork North East & Cumbia, East Durham Heritage Group, Environment Agency, Natural England, Marine Management Organisation, North East Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority.
Using money raised by the National Lottery, we Inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future. www.heritagefund.org.uk