02/08/2009
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Red Kites come out of the blue and fly into the black

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The Northern Kites Project was delighted to officially announce what hundreds of thousand of people in the Northeast already know: that Red Kites are worth 'millions' to the region. As the Northern Kites Project draws to an end, the Partnership that has, over the last five years, delivered the Northeast's highest-profile wildlife project published its wealth of socio-economic evaluation in the form of a series of reports on the Northern Kites website.


Red Kite makes its mark on the Northeast (Photo: Kaleel Zibe)

The four documents — Taking Flight: People and Red Kites, Red Kites and People, Set to Soar and Learning to Fly with Red Kites — detail the people-focused approach that the Project has used to deliver its work. Contained within them are facts and figures that very strikingly demonstrate the Project's success in delivering something that has been of huge value to local and people and the economy, not to mention the environment.


One of Go North East's branded buses. (Photo: Go North East)

The links to the documents have been circulated to over 200 key contacts in the northeast of England, alongside a supporting message from Nick Brown MP, Minister for the North East. He said, "To have re-established the region's Red Kite population for the first time in over 200 years is a real achievement. But the success of Northern Kites has not just been about the birds. It has made a real impact on the surrounding community as well. The project has had direct contact with tens of thousands of people over the past five years, and over 100 of our region's schools, not to mention all those who have had the chance to see the birds themselves. From branded buses to branded beers, Northern Kites has engaged with the business sector in an innovative and productive manner, and has made a real contribution to the region's economy. Northern Kites truly has put people at the heart of what it has achieved. The focus on environment-led regeneration is what has made it such a success. My congratulations go to all those involved on a job well done."

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Flame, a male kite from the project (Photo: Ray Wilby)

Northern Kites has:

  • Delivered the world's first urban-fringe reintroduction programme of a large bird of prey
  • Rolled out an environmental education scheme that connected to more than 36,000 school children across the region
  • Helped create the Red Kite Trail, England's first ever medium-distance Red Kite walking route
  • Delivered a demonstrably improved quality of life for local people, using Red Kites
  • Brought about the most rapid establishment of a sustainable population of breeding Red Kites in the British Isles
  • Worked with stakeholders to create a fleet of award-winning Red Kite buses, which carry environmental messages to over 2.5 million people each year
  • Added over £160,000 per annum to the economy of the lower Derwent valley
  • Quenched the region's thirst, with the northeast's first Red Kite beer
  • Catalysed total economic activity worth over £1.72 million, from an investment of less than £700,000.

Detailed evidence about the Project's delivery is contained in the documents to be found on the Northern Kites website, the direct links to which, are below.


Tesco Metro at Rowlands Gill featuring the Spirit of the Valley artwork by Alan Mould (Photo: Tesco)

In celebration of the Northern Kites Project we also produced a commemorative booklet that tells the story of the Project from 2004 to 2009. This can be found here.

Northern Kites, the Project that has brought the Red Kite back to the northeast of England, is a partnership between the lead partners Natural England and the RSPB and Gateshead Council, Northumbrian Water, the National Trust and the Forestry Commission supported with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and SITA Trust.

Written by: Northern Kites Project