One of the most important, but least visible, of our activities is the role we perform on a number of important panels and Boards. The focus and geographic range of these groups varies, but all of them lead important decision-making initiatives which have the potential to affect our rivers.
For example, we sit on the Liaison Panel for the Northumbria River Basin District. This Panel helps steer the Environment Agency’s delivery of the European Water Framework Directive – the most important piece of legislation ever created to protect and enhance our rivers, lakes, coasts and groundwater.
We also sit on several landscape-scale groups, such as Local Nature Partnerships, which identify actions needed to protect our important natural environments. These partnerships focus on land-based conservation rather than rivers, but because land-use has a direct effect on our rivers, we ensure that protection of rivers forms part of relevant discussions and outcomes.
We participate in other groups which focus purely on specific issues or species. For example, the Freshwater Pearl Mussel conservation project board, which is trying to protect the endangered pearl mussel found in the North Tyne and River Rede. Other groups focus on threats to people and economies, such as the Northumberland Community Flood Partnership.
We are not funded to take part in these partnerships and groups, but they are vital for the future protection of our rivers. Money we receive by way of donations for core activities helps us attend these groups, ensuring the Tyne’s rivers are prioritised in all relevant decision-making.
Strategic Action Plan for the Tyne Catchment (2006)
In 2006 we completed a wide-ranging public consultation. It was designed to assess the needs of the catchment and the expectations of those who live, work and use it. From this we published the first ever Strategic Action Plan for the Tyne Catchment in which we set out our Vision and Programmes of Work.
Since the plan was put in place, we have been working to:
Improve habitat to support greater and more robust biodiversity,
Acquire better information and promote better understanding of catchment issues and responsibilities,
Grow the reputation of the Tyne Catchment and Tyne Rivers Trust.
Tyne Catchment Plan (2012)
We have always planned our activities carefully to ensure targeted use of our resources where they are most needed and will have the biggest impact. In 2012 we were given a major task – to produce a plan for the whole of the Tyne catchment, encompassing all the work being undertaken by the vast range of people, groups and organisations working to improve our river environments.
We took the approach that planning is an ongoing partnership process, not a document. Although we know a lot about the Tyne, we could never have produced our plan alone; we worked alongside a range of different agencies and organisations, and from the beginning we involved local people to capture their specialist local knowledge; and openly consulted with all interested individuals to identify and prioritise issues within our river catchment.
The Tyne Catchment Plan was published in December 2012. Delivery of this work is now being led by the Tyne Catchment Partnership, funded under Defra’s Catchment-based Approach.