Northumbrian Water has announced it will embark on a £2.5 million upgrade to its sewerage network in a town in County Durham next month.
The company will work in partnership with Natural England on the project, which will start on Monday 12 September 2016 and run until May 2017.
The work will involve replacing existing pipework, which is currently in poor repair and risks causing pollution in Castle Eden Dene National Nature Reserve near Peterlee.
Also as part of the scheme, Northumbrian will remove non-native trees, which were planted in the reserve in the 1970s. It said this will “maximise benefits” for wildlife by reshaping the natural environment.
The project will require the creation of site entrances and exits from Durham Way, to access the land on the north side of Castle Eden Dene. Northumbrian Water will work with Natural England to restore these, once work is completed.
Northumbrian Water project manager Sean Barry said: “This project will help to protect the Dene and the burn which runs through it, from future risks of pollution.
“As someone who grew up in the area and still lives close to Castle Eden Dene, I know how important the conservation of the site is to residents and visitors, so while this is a delicate project, it will be handled with care and I look forward to leaving the dene ready for the return and resurgence of its natural species.”
Natural England senior reserve manager Chris Evans said: “This project is a great example of how Natural England is working in partnership with Northumbrian Water across the North East.
“We will be working closely with their team and are confident there will be real benefits for wildlife on the site once works are complete”.