Work underway to restore mudflat and saltmarsh habitats to the River Tyne at Hebburn
Mudflat and saltmarsh are very rare habitats which were once commonplace on the Tyne, but were lost over years of industrialisation and urbanisation of the river.
Now council chiefs say saltmarsh plants are set to flourish once more, with work underway to restore natural habitats along the Hebburn riverside.
South Tyneside Council is supporting a partnership project to create additional mudflat and saltmarsh along the riverbanks at Prince Consort Road.
The project involves placing natural wooden structures into the bed of the estuary edge. This will allow mudflat to develop, then saltmarsh plants to grow.
Councillor Ernest Gibson, lead member for Area Management and Community Safety at South Tyneside Council, said as well as benefiting wildlife, the plants also capture and store large amounts of carbon, preventing it from entering the atmosphere and contributing to climate change.
“It’s very exciting to see the work underway to help restore the lost mudflat and salt marsh habitats on the banks of the Tyne,” said Cllr Gibson.
“Man-made banks are preventing natural habitats from developing. But the re-establishment of these important wetlands will allow native plant species, birds and animals to flourish once again in this area. This will not only improve and increase biodiversity but will allow the riverside wetland to have a sustainable future.
“We are delighted to be involved in the project. It supports the wealth of work we are doing as a council to reduce our carbon footprint as it creates a natural source for capturing climate-changing carbon gasses.”
The project is being led by Groundwork NE and Cumbria, supported by the Council and the Environment Agency, as part of the Tyne Estuaries Partnership (TEP). TEP was established in 2019 and aims to promote the long-term environmental and economic enhancement of the Tyne estuary.
It is an example of an innovative Nature Based Solution (NBS) being used to deliver ecological, water quality and biodiversity improvements.
As well as providing food and places for specialist birds such as redshank, oystercatcher and curlew to inhabit, the site will be able to capture one tonne of carbon per year.