The company’s Water Environment team worked with partners including the Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust and its members to deliver the 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 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.
The Water Environment team leads on a commitment made by Northumbrian Water 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.
It then assessed these suggestions alongside research and surveys into other environmental improvements and worked in partnership with a wide range of environmental stakeholders to drive, support and deliver the initiative’s first projects.
The initiative is also supporting SeaScapes, the first National Lottery Heritage Fund Landscape Partnership, which 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 a Beach Care Officer, Louise Harrington, who will help to identify coastal improvements, as well as driving customer engagement and volunteering activity.
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.
“This work on the Lakeside Way, and our support for the SeaScapes partnership, 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.”
Graham Perry, Director of the Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust, said: “The Trust and its partners are always looking for ways to make the experience of visiting Kielder even better, so the opportunity to work alongside the Water Environment team at Northumbrian Water to deliver these enhancements was too good to miss.
“Visitors from all over the world already love Lakeside Way, and Osprey Watch is an exciting part of our calendar, so we are grateful to be able to make both even more enjoyable for those who choose to visit.”