Working with our communities to encourage wildlife
We manage about 50km of lineside wildlife habitats alongside the Metro tracks in Newcastle, North Tyneside, Gateshead and South Tyneside.
This mixture of embankments, cuttings, former sidings and other non-operational land represents distinct wildlife corridors with a complex history stretching back almost 200 years. In places it has been both polluted by its vicinity to the railway line and protected from the passage of humans.
Throughout the last two centuries it has been managed around the needs of the railway and its biodiversity is a product of that.
Today we manage vegetation to ensure the safe and reliable operation of Metro, including cutting back trees and bushes on a cyclical basis, and encouraging the regrowth of native species.
Where we can, we also work with communities to make sure land we don’t currently require, and which is safe to access without interfering with the railway, is put to good use. Some examples include:
The Station Master’s Garden
At Whitley Bay we responded to a local community request to take over an overgrown strip of land south of the town’s station. Since then the community has energetically created an urban paradise featuring vegetable plots, fruit bushes, ponds and story corners for children. We continue to work with the Station Masters’ Garden to extend and improve the facilities they have created.
Beehives and Metro honey
We worked with local beekeepers in Newcastle to create hives within a secure location next to our tracks. This helped deal with the problem of finding space for hives to sustain the bee population in urban areas. The hives have since produced their first examples of Metro honey – a golden yellow, of course!
We have also worked with school pupils in Monkseaton to make bird boxes to go along the line in the area, and with local schools to create planters on station platforms in South Hylton and Benton.