August 19, 2008

Well Worth Taking Time to Savour Our World ; in Association With Environment Agency

By Sue Longstone

IAM the Environment Agency's area manager in the North East and it gives me great pleasure to be writing these introductory words for this new supplement.

We are lucky here in the North East to have a rich and diverse natural environment for people to enjoy, from rolling Cheviot Hills to coastal paths in Alnmouth and Easington.

There is something for everyone: for bird enthusiasts, spend a day at Alnmouth watching the wading birds in and around the new saltmarsh habitat; follow the migratory route of the salmon to Kielder, watching out for the Tyne Salmon Trail cubes along the way; or for something a little more relaxing, following the beautiful Durham Heritage Coast along the stunning coastline from Sunderland to Hartlepool.

Many of you this summer may also be heading off to your local beach, making the most of the long sunny days (fingers crossed). Here at the Environment Agency we work with councils and others to ensure we have good quality bathing waters.

There are many Blue Flag beaches to visit, including South Shields and Whitley Bay.

We have also been working in a number of locations with partners over the past year to create an even better environment both for people and wildlife. One of the projects I am proudest of is the redesign of Kielder hatchery.

The hatchery was opened in the 1970s to make up for the loss of habitat when Kielder dam was constructed. It has been a centre of excellence for rearing salmon since it opened and we wanted to ensure its future success by giving it a makeover. Re-opened on August 8 and renamed the Kielder Salmon Centre, it has a new freshwater pearl mussel bed and a visitor centre.

I am particularly proud of the inviting nature of the centre, inspiring people to explore their environment. If you haven't been to Kielder recently, the new Salmon Centre should give you a great excuse to go there and to enjoy the many other activities that are on offer in the surrounding area.

The visitor centre will be open seven days a week for people to look around and learn about the vital work we do to maintain and improve North East rivers, including the River Tyne - England's best salmon river.

Of course, our beautiful natural environment can sometimes be a dangerous place. I want to encourage families to enjoy Nature safely. This is particularly important over the summer holidays when young people are often tempted to go swimming in rivers and lakes. You can find tips for staying safe around water on the Environment Agency's website.

I hope you enjoy reading this supplement and are inspired to get out and experience the natural environment around you.

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