Natural England will lead the LIFE Water and Disturbance Environment Restoration (WADER), project that restores damaged river and coastal habitats with a variety of techniques.
The project’s goals are to reduce river pollution at the source, improve water quality and restore wildlife rich habitats. It also aims to combat climate change through nature restoration.
The work will also benefit four Special Areas of Conservation (Berwickshire, North Northumberland Coast and Tweed Estuary and River Tweed), as well as two Special Protection Areas, (Lindisfarne Coast and Northumbria Coast). The project area is centered around Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve.
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The project will improve water quality and ecological condition of habitats by removing pollution and controlling invasive species, reducing disturbance to birds, protecting mammals and nurturing sensitive habitats.
The number of visitors to the project sites has increased during the pandemic. There will be education and inspiration to help them take action to stop climate change.
Natural England has teamed with Tweed Forum, the Environment Agency and Newcastle University to bring the project to fruition.
Christine Venus, Natural England’s Area Manager, stated that nature is our most precious resource and Natural England is leading its restoration by bringing together partners with the potential to combine their expertise and resources to help the natural world thrive again.
We were able to secure LIFE funding together for this project that will improve the ecological condition on more than 49,000 hectares along the Northumberland coast. It’s a wonderful opportunity for nature recovery on a truly landscape-scale level and we can’t wait to get started.
The Environment Agency has appointed a project officer to work with farmers and landowners in order to improve soil health. This will help boost crop production, while also improving water quality.
Heather Harrison, Environment Agency’s programme officer for environment, stated that the project aims to bring together organizations so that they can deliver multiple benefits by working at the same place. This can be seen in the Breamish River Restoration Project.
We will plant trees along river corridors and create new reed beds. This combination will bring multiple benefits to water quality, flood risk management and carbon capture, biodiversity, and nature recovery.
While organisations might have worked together to achieve these results in the past, this LIFE project combines funding and our skills so we can do more good for the environment.
Luke Comins, director of Tweed Forum, stated that the project will stimulate cross-border action and bring immense benefits, not just to downstream water quality but also for carbon sequestration and recreation, biodiversity and flood risk management.
Dr Aileen MILL, Newcastle University’s director of expertise in ecosystems, said that the School of Natural and Environmental Sciences is thrilled by the opportunity this funding presents to strengthen existing partnerships throughout the North East.