CONSULTATION is underway to create a scheme to reduce pollution in a woodland stream in north Durham.

Raw sewage and sanitary waste currently overflows from the drainage system into Twizell Burn in South Stanley woods during heavy rainfall.

The pollution is damaging the environment, making it unpleasant for walkers and harming wildlife in the area.

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Project officer Carolyn Simpson, of Wear Rivers Trust, said: “The Twizell Burn has been identified as a priority site.

“Specifically, the urban drainage system has been identified as an opportunity to address the frequent spillage of sewage.

“The Twizell Burn is affected by sewage litter for the greater proportion of its length.

“Awareness raising is highly important in this community and part of Living Waterways is about raising awareness of environmental risks and projects like this can help mitigate these.”

As well as human waste, household sanitary products like tampons, nappies, baby wipes and condoms are also ending up in the waterway, which is a tributary of the River Wear.

Ed Rollason, PhD researcher at Durham University, which is involved with the scheme, said: “Assuming it works as it is intended there is no doubt that stopping raw sewage flowing into the burn is a good thing.

“If you walk down the burn there are all sort of things that are being washed down that really should not be in there.

“Paper, pee and poo are the only things that are supposed to go down your loo.”

The Greening the Twizell Partnership, which includes Wear Rivers Trust, Durham University, Derwentside homes, Welfare 4 life and Northumbrian Water, ran a public consultation event in the area on Wednesday to gain the views of residents.

Local rambler Rob Green, of South Moor, said: “I think the project is brilliant.

“It is very important to have an area where people can walk and appreciate the countryside, knowing that it is safe and I think this project is going to make that a reality.”

The scheme could involve creating extra drainage in the green spaces between the streets of Marx Crescent, Kier Hardie Avenue and Avon Road.

Donna Walker, community involvement officer, of Derwentside Homes, said: “We want everyone in the area to feel happy in the area they live.

“A lot of people do complain about the state of the waterway down in the woods.

“This is going to improve the quality of life for people around that area and ensure there is somewhere nice for people to go for walk.”