It has been a while since I updated this site with the latest news on our progress to develop a Tyne Catchment Partnership, but things have been moving on.
Joint Catchment Forum
In January 2014 Tyne Rivers Trust and Northumberland Rivers Trust used the seed funding provided by Defra to run a Catchment Forum, bringing together over 40 organisations and community representatives who have an interest in the Tyne and Northumberland river catchments.
The attendees represented a very wide range of stakeholder interests, and led to a useful analysis of the key problems facing our rivers and, crucially, provided advice to both Rivers Trusts as to how to develop our Catchment Partnerships. Our independent facilitator, Iain Nixon, has written the findings up into a report, but the key conclusions were:
- a joint ‘Catchment Forum’ held across river catchments was a useful exercise and would be worth repeating, perhaps on an annual basis, to report to/get feedback from a wider stakeholder group on shared experiences, best practice, achievements, difficulties, future risks etc.
- each catchment would benefit from a separate steering group to lead its Catchment Partnership, coming together annually (potentially also with other North-East Partnerships)
- the Catchment steering groups should identify the need for, and convene, working groups (issue or location-based or both) and provide a ‘champion’ for each group. Where an issue crosses catchment boundaries then the working group should work with neighbouring Catchment Partnerships as appropriate. Working groups would report back to the steering group as needed.
We have just heard that Defra intends to provide further funding to support Catchment Hosts in the financial year 14/15. This is great news for Tyne Rivers Trust, as the Tyne Catchment Host, because it gives us the confidence that we can put in place the steps identified in the Catchment Forum and continue to support the development of a Tyne Catchment Partnership. Tyne Rivers Trust is also very grateful to Northumbrian Water for its offer of financial assistance for the 14/15 year.
I will be looking to bring together key Tyne stakeholders in early April to form a Steering Group and Working Groups to take the Tyne Catchment Partnership forward. One of the key tasks before then will be to identify the right person to drive this work forward – while I am keen to see the Catchment Partnership develop and build on the hard work that went into the Tyne Catchment Plan, I simply don’t have enough time to give this task the time it needs now that I have changed roles to become the Director of Tyne Rivers Trust. The Tyne Catchment Partnership has huge potential to drive improvements for our rivers, but it needs the right person and adequate time resource behind it. Now that next year’s funding situation is clearer, this has become number one priority.
Director, Tyne Rivers Trust