Weardale - Local Action
Hello Weardale

Thank you to everyone who attended our Weardale event.


Working hard with partners and local people in their communities, we are restoring and regenerating our natural environment, creating an even better place to live and work through our local actions.

Our Local Environment. Our Ambition. Our Local Action.
Burnhope and Tunstall Reservoirs 

Local Action is underway at Burnhope Reservoir and at the adjacent Water Treatment Works.  

We recently completed a £2.6m project to enhance the drainage system and upgrade the pipe into the treatment works. 

This work will protect the river levels in the Wear and make sure wildlife has constant access to water.  

It will also mean we are better able to cope with population growth and more extreme weather due to climate change in the future.    

We have also been improving Tunstall Reservoir. Last summer, we started a £2.7m programme of works to make sure the reservoir will be able to handle greater amounts of rainfall as a result of climate change.    

Local action on storm overflows

  • Our goal is to prevent pollution and sewage from entering rivers and seas across our region.  
  • We’ll decrease the number of storm overflows releases each year. 
  • To do this, we have ambitious investment plans in place until 2040. 
  • You can see the details of our future plans for Weardale and across the North East here.
River Wear in focus

  • The River Wear catchment is the area of land through which water from rain, melting snow or ice, drains into the Wear.   
  • The Wear is covered by our Thriving Catchments programme. In this programme we are working with the Rivers Trust; the local Wear Rivers Trust; Durham Wildlife Trust and local farmers and land managers to look at managing pollutants in the Wear catchment before they get to the river.  
  • As part of our Thriving River Catchments programme, we are also co-funding a full-time Wear Catchment Manager with Wear Rivers Trust.   
  • The focus of this new role will be to improve the River Wear catchment area.  
  • We’ve been investing at our sewage treatment works to improve the quality of treated wastewater flowing into the River Wear, so that we can play our part in river quality improvements. 
  • So far, we’ve invested at seven sites in the Wear catchment area over the past five years to remove pollutants, which can cause excess algae. These improvements will continue with further investment to 2030.      
Local action - Bin the Wipe

  • We need your help, Weardale!   
  • Wet wipes are the biggest cause of blockages and sewer flooding.   
  • You can make a big difference by doing one simple thing, instead of flushing it down the loo, bin it: Bin the Wipe.     
Saving water

  • Saving water protects our local environment by limiting the amount of water we must remove.  
  • We will be encouraging local people to use water wisely and promoting the benefits of water meters.  
  • A water meter could reduce the amount of water you use by up to 20% and save you on average £264 a year on your bill.  
  • To find out if a water meter is right for you, why not try our water usage calculator to see if it can save you money. 
Bill worries? Talk to us

  • Even after our planned investment we still expect bills in the North East to be the lowest in England.  
  • However, we know our communities are facing a cost-of-living crisis with food, housing, transport and other essential bills going up.  
  • We are committed to helping those that need it most. If you or anyone you know is struggling to pay their bills, please talk to us. Try our  eligibility checker to find out which of our financial support schemes you may be eligible for.    
Join the Water Rangers and protect our local rivers and streams

  • Are you passionate about caring for our local waterways and making a real difference in your community? If you are then why not become a Water Ranger?   
  • Water Rangers are an enthusiastic group of local volunteers who roll up their sleeves and take positive local action by reporting any issues and notable wildlife they see in and around our local rivers and streams.   
  • Don’t delay, email waterrangers@nwl.co.uk to join today!  
Nominate your local “bluespace” for improvements

  • Bluespace is a term for rivers, lakes or the sea that people can access.   
  • Our bluespaces scheme is about delivering projects with our partners to improve a number of these areas in our region. 
  • We want local people to propose local bluespaces for improvement.  
  • Find out more about bluespaces including guidance about whether your project might be eligible.
Local action on invasive species

  • Working with the Wear Rivers Trust we are removing destructive invasive species like Himalayan Balsam, Giant Hogweed and Japanese Knotweed at Stanhope Sewage Treatment Works. 
  • Last year, we granted £15k to tackle invasives in Upper Weardale and contributed another £15k to the North East wide five-year plan, led by the Tyne Rivers Trust. 
  • This year we are allocating a further £30k through the Branch Out Priority Habitat scheme to restore Beechburn Beck’s upper stretch, managing invasives and enhancing water quality. This project runs until March 2025. 
  • Please get in touch to get involved and make a positive local impact! 

Find out more

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