A wildlife oasis in the middle of an industrial area will be officially opened by Environment Minister Chris Mullin on Monday.

The Sunderland South MP will focus binoculars on birds at a wetland, which is a green dividend of a construction project at Howdon, North Tyneside.

Creation of the wildlife haven alongside Northumbrian Water's £70m sewage treatment works extension has also saved water customers' money and brought a contaminated land site back to life.

The Howdon Wetlands cost only £200,000 to create.

Clay removed from the construction site was used to build it. The 170,000 tonnes of earth would otherwise have cost £1.1m to dispose of in 16,000 lorryloads, in a landfill site.

Mr Mullin said: "This is good news for wildlife protection in Northumbria. Howdon Wetlands is an excellent example of how companies can ensure the long-term protection of their local environment.