This exciting new partnership will bring together local, regional and national expertise in a regional Hub to develop improvements for water quality and the wider environment around the North East.
As well as playing an important part in the creation of Northumbrian Water’s business plan for 2025-30, the Hub – an industry first – will create three new full-time job roles within three of the region’s rivers Trusts (Tyne, Wear, and Tees) plus an extra part-time managerial role.
Catchments are all the areas that drain into streams, rivers and lakes. The North East Catchment Hub brings the Catchment Based Approach for water management to a regional level within the North East, facilitating cross-catchment working and knowledge sharing with the support of the Catchment Partnerships.
It will form a focal point for the water company’s planning and partnership working to improve the environment through catchment and nature-based solutions.
Working in partnership through the Hub will help to combine expertise and best practice and create opportunities to unlock additional funding and consider alternative, sustainable ways to invest for environmental benefit.
The strategic partnership and creation of the Hub follows the development of the water company’s new approach to improve bluespaces, in another water industry first that goes above and beyond regulatory requirements in enhancing the environment around water for its customers.
It also builds on the success of the Northumbria Integrated Drainage Partnership, which brings the water company together with the Environment Agency and all 13 lead local flood authorities in the North East region, to reduce flood risk in partnership and in a way that promotes sustainable drainage.
Mike Madine, Head of Wastewater Service Planning, Quality and Performance at Northumbrian Water said: “This partnership with The Rivers Trust, and the creation of the North East Catchments Hub, is an industry-leading approach to delivering improvements to watercourses and the wider environment. It will create opportunities to invest effectively and significantly enhance the things we can do in this area.
“We are looking to deliver even more with our partners through the Catchment Based Approach, supported by The Rivers Trust.
“Catchment planning is something that no individual organisation can substantially tackle alone, and that’s recognised by both ourselves and The Rivers Trust. It’s really exciting to be coming together like this, because we know we can do so much more by working in partnership.”
The partnership is initially for one year, but its remit includes developing a platform for growth into future years.
Amina Aboobakar, Commercial Director at The Rivers Trust, added: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Northumbrian Water and catchment stakeholders across the region through the NE Catchments Planning Hub. This is an exciting, industry leading partnership that will facilitate co-ordinated and long-term catchment planning at a regional scale. Our dedicated team, based in local catchment partnerships, will co-develop catchment and nature-based solutions with stakeholders across the water and land use sectors, delivering holistic benefits for society and environment and supporting healthy resilient catchments that can be enjoyed by north east communities.”
Dr Ceri Gibson, CEO at Tyne Rivers Trust, which will be hosting a citizen science catchment monitoring demonstrator as part of the work, said: “Catchment Partnerships are an established and effective mechanism for identifying and delivering holistic improvements for rivers and land management. Everyone involved appreciates that working together to collect and share critical information will reap greater benefits. We are pleased to apply our local expertise and lived knowledge in working with natural processes to support Northumbrian Water in identifying and developing the most appropriate nature-based solutions throughout the region.”