Ponds funding announced

HARTLEPOOL Borough Council ‘s Countryside Team has received a £24,000 funding boost from SITA Trust to pay for the creation of a network of freshwater wetland areas across the town.

The ponds will provide a network of habitat ‘stepping stones’ that will benefit many nationally declining wetland species such as frogs, newts and toads.

Sites earmarked for the wetlands are at Ward Jackson Park, Burn Valley Gardens, Seaton Carew Park, the Phoenix Centre on Central Estate and Golden Flatts.

SITA Trust provides funding through the Landfill Communities Fund for community and environmental groups to carry out a range of improvement projects.

The funding will give local people the opportunity to experience new and exciting wetland habitats within easy walking distance of their own homes.

The ponds will be created by the Tees Valley Wildlife Trust who are widely experienced in this type of work and will be landscaped by a dedicated team of Parks and Countryside volunteers using plants grown from seeds collected locally by the Wildflower Ark at Nature’s World in Middlesbrough.

The volunteers will also be tasked with the future maintenance and monitoring of the ponds to ensure that they are well managed to benefit both people and wildlife.

Deborah Jefferson, countryside officer with the council’s countryside team, said: “The SITA Trust funding has provided us with a fantastic opportunity to improve the bio-diversity of our parks and green spaces as wetland areas and provide homes for many thousands of different birds, amphibians and insects. The ponds will provide a brilliant resource for local people, whether it’s at one of our planned pond dipping events, an educational visit with their school, or simply as they walk around in their own time.”

Jools Granville, of SITA Trust, said: “We’re delighted to be able to announce that we’re able to support this very special project on World Wetlands Day ( 2nd February)! Of course we provide funding to projects like this every day of the year but on a day like today it is brought home just how important our global wetlands are.”