A project to identify how Northumbrian Water can improve river and bathing waters in the Berwick-upon-Tweed catchment, has been given an early funding boost.

The water company applied for funding to accelerate c.£50 million pounds worth of investment to reduce spills from storm overflows at Tweedmouth and Spittal by 2030.


The scheme has been approved as one of 31 accelerated delivery investment schemes announced by Ofwat yesterday, to bring benefits for customers and the environment across the country.


Northumbrian Water will be able to start delivering the project straight away, meaning that the design and construction of the project will commence earlier than expected.


The planning phase of the project will also look at options that bring multiple benefits, such as reducing the risk of flooding.


Richard Warneford, Northumbrian Water’s Wastewater Director, said: “It is fantastic that Ofwat have agreed to accelerate this investment in our region.


“We understand and share our customers’ passion for the environment and while improvements have been made, we know there is still work to be done to reduce storm overflow spills in the Berwick catchment.


“This investment will help us to deliver important benefits for the environment and the community faster.”


Councillor Glen Sanderson, Leader of Northumberland County Council added: “I welcome this news on improving river and bathing waters in the Berwick area earlier than planned. 


"We are proud of our fantastic beaches and bathing waters in Northumberland and, we must make sure these are maintained to the high standards residents and visitors rightly expect. 


“At our last Council Meeting in March, we discussed local concerns over Spittal Beach, so I’m pleased this matter has been taken seriously and these works can now be accelerated by the Water Company.” 


Councillor Georgina Hill, Northumberland County Councillor for Berwick East said: “This funding, which allows for the acceleration of the project, is excellent news and constitutes a major step forward in improving the water around Spittal beach and the surrounding area.


"I am grateful to Northumbrian Water for taking our concerns seriously, demonstrating their commitment to this important issue and recognising there is still more to do.”


Storm overflows are consented by the Environment Agency and designed to operate as a relief valve during times of heavy rainfall, to help protect the homes of customers from flooding.


Northumbrian Water first made the bid for funding from Ofwat in October 2022, and will continue to work with the Government as part of the Storm Overflow Task Force, to look at how the UK wastewater and drainage infrastructure is designed and the investment needed to work effectively now and in the future.