A ground-breaking set of projects to help the River Tees Estuary adapt to climate change, restore valuable habitat for internationally important wildlife and reconnect the river’s tributaries has officially launched.

With funding of more than £30million, the Tees Tidelands programme aims to realign flood defences, restore mudflat and saltmarsh habitat, and remove tidal barriers so migratory fish can return to rivers where they have been absent for hundreds of years.

In total, Tees Tidelands aims to create over 50 hectares of mudflats, saltmarsh and other valuable estuarine habitats, as well as reducing flood risk for homes and businesses, now and into the future.

The Tees Estuary has been heavily modified by human hand in the last 200 years as it transformed into a hub of industrial activity. While vital for jobs and the economy, this led to the loss of 90% of the intertidal habitat that once existed.

The Environment Agency, together with partners including Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), the Canal & River Trust, Teesside Environmental Trust, Tees Rivers Trust, Natural England and Tees Valley Wildlife Trust aim to redress the balance between nature and industry in a way that adapts to climate change and secures the future economic prosperity of Teesside.

The ambitious Tees Tidelands programme features schemes across Teesside at sites near Greatham, Port Clarence, Portrack, along the banks of the River Tees and in rivers such as Lustrum Beck, Ormesby Beck and Billingham Beck.

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