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Working Together – Tyne Estuary Partnership

Groundwork NE & Cumbria (Groundwork) are pleased to be working in partnership with the Environment Agency (EA) to lead ongoing development of the Tyne Estuary Partnership (TEP).

Invested in the long-term environmental and economic enhancement of the estuary; this strong, strategic, influential partnership is making a meaningful and sustainable impact on the River Tyne and the region as a whole.

Established in 2019 the Partnership will achieve this by delivering environmental enhancements through innovative Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) and demonstrating ecological, water quality and biodiversity improvements.  NBS have the potential to offer more resilience to climate change, provide multiple ecosystem services and have high rates of return on (Defra, 2013).

TEP recognises the Climate Emergency declared by Local Authorities and will provide innovative integrated blue/green solutions to offset some of the effects of climate change. The project aims to halt, and reverse the effects of historic urbanisation, which has resulted in the loss of valuable habitats and species, while promoting well-being, and supporting economic growth. We will provide opportunities for reducing CO2 emissions from development and future growth while adapting to the issues, mitigating adverse impacts and taking advantage of the opportunities presented by climate change.

Our outputs will contribute to UN Sustainable Development Goals including

  • Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
  • Goal 13: Climate Action
  • Goal 14: Life Below Water
  • Goal 15: Life on Land

The TEP will contribute to the Climate Change Act of 2008  focussing on :

  • Ne1: Risks to species and habitats from changing climate space 
    • Ne5: Risks to natural carbon stores & carbon sequestration 
    • Ne6: Risks to agriculture & wildlife from water scarcity & flooding 
    • Ne8: Risks of land management practices exacerbating flood risk
    • Ne12: Risks to habitats & heritage in the coastal zone from sea level rise; loss of natural flood protection    

The results of the North East Climate Change Adaptation Study also identifies climate change as an opportunity to bring new economic portfolios to the region such as investment in new technologies which could create jobs, strengthen the economy and place the region at the forefront of the renewable energy industry. It is possible that the TEP will provide an avenue for these new technologies and wider benefits this will bring. 

Our proposed nature-based solutions in the form of synthetic habitats will be delivered in an environmentally sustainable manner and contribute to carbon storage, improved air quality, environmentally sustainable development through a network of habitats along the banks of the Tyne. 

Our operations will ensure:

•             Deliver outputs that benefit the low carbon economy and climate emergency strategies

•             Quantify carbon sequestration in new and existing estuarine habitats

•             Monitor use of sustainable travel along the banks of the Tyne

•             Monitor and report on the use of low carbon commuting alternatives.

The Partnership also provides opportunities to increase blue carbon potential in the estuary.    Mudflat and saltmarsh ecosystems sequester and store large quantities of blue carbon in both the plants and the sediment below. 

Saltmarshes are one of the most efficient habitats on earth for sequestering and storing carbon in their soils. In addition to this, each molecule of CO2 sequestered in saltmarsh soils is more valuable from a ‘Greenhouse gas perspective’ than CO2 molecule sequestered in freshwater wetland soils (including peatland) which tend to produce and release methane gas (CH4) associated with  carbon  accumulation. The high concentrations of sulphates and associated microbes in coastal and marine soils and sediments mitigate against CH4 formation and escape to the atmosphere, where it otherwise would act as a considerably more potent greenhouse gas than CO2.

We encourage our partners and supporters to share their examples of good practice in tackling the climate emergency, reversing ecological collapse and delivering a just transition. NEECCo does not undertake to quality assure these case studies, and inclusion of a case study on this website does not imply endorsement of the project by NEECCo or by its partners.

Some case studies will feature organisations who are involved in fossil fuel industries, or who are open to challenge on other aspects of their performance in relation to our objectives. NEECCo recognises that if we are to reach our ambitious objectives, all organisations and individuals within the north east will need to adapt their behaviour and actions. We want our case studies to encourage this process. Our commitment to achieving a just transition from a carbon-based economy to a green economy requires us to encourage positive steps wherever they are to be found. 

We are interested in your views on the case studies so please choose to like/ dislike each case study.