Hemlington Lakes Wins National Waterways Renaissance Award

An inspirational Environment Agency-led regeneration project that has made a real difference to people’s lives and wildlife landed a top honour at the 2008 Waterways Renaissance Awards held on March 12, 2008.

The Hemlington Lakes Angling Improvements Scheme (first phase) beat off several other innovative schemes to win the Defra-sponsored Community Award in The Waterways Trust and British Urban Regeneration Association-run accolades, which celebrate best practice in sustainable waterway regeneration and development.

The Middlesbrough-based scheme is part of the Environment Agency’s Tees Valley Project, which aims to raise the profile of environmental issues across the region – and tackle them.

Hemlington Lake“The award is a brilliant boost for all involved. It's wonderful to see everyone's effort and commitment recognised - particularly the Friends of Hemlington Lake who give up their time freely to fundraise and organise activities at the lake. The project is a great example of how we are working with our partners and local communities to create better places,” enthused Tees Valley Project manager Mike McNulty.

At Hemlington Lake, a man-made flood storage reservoir connected to Bluebell Beck on the outskirts of Middlesbrough, the Environment Agency is working with partners and the local community to improve and promote fishing facilities and access - and protect wildlife.

Thanks to funding from the Environment Agency, Groundwork South Tees, Middlesbrough Council and the Government’s Neighbourhood Renewal Public Spaces Fund, the first phase of improvement works included the installation of 17 fishing platforms made from recycled plastic and increased access to the lake for all, including disabled and wheelchair-bound visitors.

“The modern renaissance of our waterways continues to transform our environment, injecting new life into formerly neglected areas and bringing communities together. These projects are excellent examples of what can be achieved with vision, commitment and partnership working,” added Chief Executive of The Waterways Trust Roger Hanbury.