Tyne Rivers Trust
Tyne Rivers Trust > Project > Mining in the South Tyne

Green engineering at its best

We’re working to tackle the remains of metal mining in the Pennines which still pollutes the river today. The metal mines date back to the 1800s but due to the unstable nature of spoil heaps, metal rich sediment still finds its way into the river, unbalancing its natural ecology.

The metal mines are found right in the top end of the catchment meaning that the sediment (containing lead, zinc and cadmium, which are highly toxic in freshwater environments) flows all the way downstream.

Working with the Coal Authority and the Environment Agency we’re using green engineering methods to reduce the amount of sediment that enters the river. Green engineering uses natural materials such as log barriers and Geo Coir matting to catch sediment and stabilise the spoil heaps.

Calaminarian grassland plants thrive in the metal polluted soil


However, Calaminarian grassland plants such as alpine penny-cress actually flourish in the metal polluted soil and it is our job to protect them – we call this the South Tyne conundrum.


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