Children in North Tyneside have planted up innovative new floating islands which are set to transform wildlife, as part of a £6million flood reduction project.
The pupils from West Moor Primary School, put on their gardening gloves to help bring life to Killingworth Lake for the final phase of the Killingworth and Longbenton flood reduction scheme.
It’s a joint project between Northumbrian Water, North Tyneside Council and the Environment Agency to increase flood protection to more than 3,500 homes in Killingworth and Long Benton.
As part of the project, floating eco-systems, designed and made by specialist contractor Biomatrix Water, have been installed on Killingworth Lake to give plants and animals a place to live, both above and below the water.
Fixed in the centre of the lake, they will also help to keep the lake clear, with their plant roots sucking up nutrients and cleansing the water.
It’s the first time Northumbrian Water has used floating eco-systems as part of a project, to help improve water quality and biodiversity.
Northumbrian Water’s Project Manager, Lynn Preston, said: “Work is well underway on the third and final phase of this flood reduction project and it’s been really exciting to see it all take shape, especially with the installation of these fantastic islands.
“It was a pleasure to have West Moor Primary School join us in establishing the floating islands with plants and shrubs, and for them to learn about biodiversity with a talk from Biomatrix. As well as being an attractive addition to the lake, the islands will provide a natural habitat for wildlife and fish, as well as keep the lake clean and clear.”
The scheme, which is being carried out by Northumbrian Water’s supply partners Esh-Stantec who organised the planting event with the school, is due to be complete in early summer.
Cllr Carole Burdis, cabinet member for Community Safety, North Tyneside Council, said: “It’s great to see the progress being made on this important project which will protect thousands of homes and families in the surrounding area.
“I am also really pleased to see local schoolchildren getting involved in the planting and learning all about biodiversity. Killingworth Lake is a beautiful spot and the floating islands look great and bring something different and unique.”
Nicola Hyslop, lead officer for the project from Environment Agency, said: "We are well underway with the final phase of this scheme and have worked closely with our partners to ensure the scheme reduces flood risk, while enhancing the environment.
"It′s fantastic that West Moor Primary School joined us in establishing the floating islands, which will be a great addition to the lake, providing a natural habitat for wildlife."
Customers can follow the project on Northumbrian Water′s Community Portal at www.nwlcommunityportal.co.uk and by following the link to the Killingworth and Long Benton page.