One of the most important, but least visible, of our activities is the influencing role we perform on a number of important panels and Boards. The focus and geographic range of these groups varies, but all of them lead important decision-making initiatives which have the potential to affect our rivers.
For example, we sit on the Liaison Panel for the Northumbria River Basin District. This Panel helps steer the Environment Agency’s delivery of the European Water Framework Directive – the most important piece of legislation ever created to protect and enhance our rivers, lakes, coasts and groundwater.
We also sit on several landscape-scale groups, such as Local Nature Partnerships, which identify actions needed to protect our important natural environments. These partnerships focus on land-based conservation rather than rivers, but because land-use affects our rivers we ensure that protection of rivers forms part of relevant discussions and outcomes.
Some other groups we are involved with focus purely on specific issues or species. For example, the Freshwater Pearl Mussel conservation project board, which is trying to protect the endangered pearl mussel found in the North Tyne and River Rede. Other groups focus on threats to people and economies, such as the Northumberland Community Flood Partnership.
We are not funded to take part in these partnerships and groups, but they are vital for the future protection of our rivers. Money we receive by way of donations for core activities helps us attend these groups, ensuring the Tyne’s rivers are known as a priority in all relevant decision-making.