What is the vision for the Ouse Burn?

Our vision is that in 10+ years, the Ouse Burn will be a valley with abundant wildlife, cycle paths and walkways for recreation and environmentally friendly commuting. Linking to sustainable transport routes throughout the region.

The ambition is to make the Ouse Burn a national exemplar of how the pollution of similar degraded urban rivers across the country can be mitigated. Water will be significantly cleaner, as clean as water can be in an urban environment and as the valley regenerates it will become a significant cooling space for the city, especially important for climate change.

The restored heritage will provide access to the history of Newcastle. Derelict buildings will be brought back to life as a resource for heritage, employment and education. And the many communities who value the valley will have been empowered to have their say, supported by funding to bring about the changes they identified.

The Vision consolidates and links many of the existing ideas and current strategies for individual sections along the Ouse Burn Way with the intent that there is a cohesive approach to improvement and enhancement along the full route.

What is The Ouse Burn Way?

A vision that combines environmental and green initiatives with inner-city living. A corridor of green space that is easily accessible and connects communities. Providing a safe, enjoyable and healthy means to travel by improving links throughout the area and into Northumberland. Whilst offering development opportunities to support education, skills, employment and business. This will improve the lives of so many residents, enhance nature and enable us to make the most of this unique and wonderful part of Newcastle.

Where is The Ouse Burn Way?

The Ouse Burn Way will stretch from the River Tyne at Ouseburn to Weetslade Country Park and the Letch in Longbenton, with a possible extension into Newcastle Great Park. The seven-mile trail will connect communities with nature bringing long-term benefits to water quality, wellbeing and wildlife.

What will The Ouse Burn Way vision do?

The Ouse Burn Way vision will aim to:

  • Achieve a significant reduction in the pollution of the Ouse Burn and its tributaries.
  • Develop and extend a wildlife corridor to improve the ecology and biodiversity of the Ouse Burn and its tributaries.
  • Achieve improvements in the linkages between the various sections and overall access.
  • Encourage development opportunities consistent with planning policies.
  • Enable good pedestrian and cycling infrastructure and enhance visitor attractions.
  • Improve health, wellbeing, education and heritage with initiatives.
  • Seek opportunities to actively contribute to the mitigation of Climate Change, for example through improved sequestering of carbon, improved opportunities to walk or cycle, reducing flood risk, and creation of more resilient habitats.

Why is The Ouse Burn Way so important to the Reece Foundation?

The Reece Foundation funds northeast engineering, manufacturing and environmental initiatives to support sustainable prosperity in the region. We are very aware of the crucial role access to nature and the protection of wild places have on the well-being of the region.

Cities generally lack opportunities to access nature, that is more than a small urban park. The Ouseburn Valley can improve access to nature which is so important for the well-being of Newcastle and North Tyneside

We are supporting The Ouse Burn Way to help realise its potential as a major recreational resource by improving the current degradation within the environment whilst also enhancing biodiversity right into the inner city and providing an area of carbon capture and natural cooling for the city. It also ensures a green, attractive and accessible corridor is established.

Is water quality the biggest challenge of The Ouse Burn Way?

For the scheme to succeed, the water course must become a significantly cleaner river. Water quality is a challenge as increased pollution through human sewage plus agricultural and urban runoff has had a major impact. After heavy rainfall, it is smelly, unpleasant, nasty colour. Recent research has shown it is currently a health hazard.

It is not simple, or cheap but new scientific discoveries and methods are being developed, including at Newcastle University that we hope will help overcome the challenges.

Going forward a clean water strategy will be a key part of the project. This will enable the Ouse Burn to become a nicer, more pleasant environment and support a large variety of wildlife. Otters, kingfishers, and water voles – can increase in numbers and indeed come back.

The Reece Foundation has already funded research by Newcastle University to carry out the water quality analysis of the Ouseburn because we were concerned that the reduction in water quality and specifically pollution from human sewage was having a very detrimental effect on the Ouseburn Valley as a healthy green space for people and wildlife.

How long will it take to realise the full potential of The Ouse Burn Way?

We are very much at the start of the project of a minimum 10-year plan. The Ouse Burn Way is a vision, but a vision that we very much want to see become a reality, which is why the Reece Foundation is creating a fund of £1m to leverage the support this project will require.

Where with the rest of the money come from?

We are very pleased to be able to provide substantial funds to kick-start this project. This will hopefully enable partner organisations to leverage the additional funds required to bring this project to fruition. This will improve the lives of so many residents.

Who is involved in The Ouse Burn Way?

The Reece Foundation is working with partners including Northumbrian Water, Newcastle City Council, North Tyneside Council and the Environment Agency. Together they are all working closely with local communities on the project’s evolution.

How can local communities support the project?

There are also many voices to listen to and competing pressures in the valley for more housing, leisure and business amongst other things. However, with a program of public engagement we believe we can reach a consensus and progress can be made.

An exhibition highlighting the project’s potential is open for viewing at The Farrell Centre, Eldon Place, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RD until February 9, 2024.

The project is also available to view online at www.TheOuseBurnWay.co.uk where you can find out more, share your thoughts about the project with the partnership and pledge your support.

The Reece Foundation wants to empower local communities to deliver this vision. What is the best thing that can be done to improve the area for you – that is what we would like you to let us know.

The Reece Foundation wants to empower the local community to have their say, supported by funding to bring about the changes they identified.

An exhibition highlighting the project's potential is open for viewing at The Farrell Centre, Eldon Place, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RD until February 9, 2024.

To help deliver the vision tell us “The best thing that can be done to improve the area for you.”

What is the best thing that can be done to improve the Ouse Burn Valley for you – that is what we would like you to let us know.

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Download our Vision Document

Our in-depth brochure outlines all of our proposed plans and aims to:

  • Define the potential of the Ouse Burn and the Letch as a major recreational resource of benefit to the residents of Tyne and Wear
  • Seek the support of all those bodies with an interest in the area to agree a comprehensive strategy that meets local and national objectives and secures the long term development and maintenance of the corridor
  • Work closely with local communities in the evolution of the project

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