GRASS IS A GOOD SIGN
We’re seeing signs that our work to reduce pollution from abandoned metal mines is working. Grasses growing on the slopes of spoil heaps that we have stabilised is a positive sign and the first time vegetation has been seen growing on the slopes.
The more grass, the more stable the spoil heap will be, stopping toxic sediment from washing downstream and polluting the whole river.
The four year project in partnership with the Environment Agency and the Coal Authority has tackled 17 spoil heaps in total. It uses green engineering to prevent toxic sediment from washing into the river, particularly during periods of heavy rainfall.
Natural materials such as log barriers and biodegradable matting stabilise the slopes of the spoil heap, preventing sediment from washing into the river system. It also encourages vegetation to grow which further stabilises the heaps and ensures that river pollution is reduced in the long term.
Jack Bloomer, Deputy CEO of Tyne Rivers Trust says: “After tackling seven spoil heaps in 2018, it is a huge achievement to stabilise another ten this year and a major landmark for the second phase of the project.
“Some of the spoil heaps are very tall and in remote locations so the logistics of addressing the pollution problems can be very challenging. We’ve used materials that blend into the landscape and will only strengthen the work over time. Now that these spoil heaps are more stable it will reduce pollution washing into the river and improve water quality of the whole of the Tyne catchment.
“We’re looking to tackle even more spoil heaps in the next phase of the project.”