Read about our route map for 2021 which covers managing the new tier frameworks and how the County will recover socially and economically.

This page was last updated on 1 June at 3pm

This document is our route-map for working on how the County will recover socially and economically in the coming months. The route-map:

  • Makes sense of the latest health data on Covid- giving you the key facts about rates of infection as well as groups and parts of the County most impacted;
  • Tells you about the impact on businesses and jobs;
  • Makes clear what services and support you can expect from your Council as we move through Government’s Roadmap to ease lockdown restrictions;
  • Outlines a five-point package of public health measures to tackle Covid infection and, a five-point plan for economic recovery.  

The Covid pandemic has had profound impacts on individuals, families, communities and businesses in every part of Northumberland. We shared the frustration of residents and businesses as restrictions had to be ratcheted up in response to the spread of the virus. Currently, we have moved to ‘Step 3’ of Government’s Roadmap.  This is a welcome step but, it’s important to remember that constraints on some activities remain in place. Our priority is to work with Government, residents, partners and businesses to ensure we follow the national Roadmap and maintain low Covid-infection rates, deliver an effective vaccination programme and lead economic recovery. 

As we move through the remaining steps of the ‘roadmap’, we are clear, as your Council, we will continue to deliver the services you need every day, supporting and protecting the people who need help and, doing all we can to help businesses survive, recover and thrive once again.

Unlike traditional council plans, our route-map will not be static or long-term. The fast-changing nature of Covid and its impacts demands a different approach.  Instead, we will produce regular updates of this document and share these with you so you can see the latest picture and how we are adapting our response to changing circumstances. 

What won’t change is our commitment to being here for all our communities throughout this challenging period and beyond.
 
Cllr Glen Sanderson                                                                       Daljit Lally
Leader of Council                                                                           Chief Executive

Split into four sections these are a summary of our challenges and what our opportunities are.

Economic challenges
  • Impact on tourism and hospitality
  • UK economy shrinking
  • Increased unemployment
  • Lower wage growth
Opportunities
  • Leading green recovery
  • Ambitious programme of investment and growth
  • Pre-Covid strengths in key sectors (pharma, advanced manufacturing, energy, agri-food, tourism)
Social challenges
  • Disproportionate impact on young people – jobs, skills, HE &FE
  • Potentially widening inequalities
  • Impact on community activity / events
Opportunities
  • ‘Communities Together’ model
  • Strong community response during Covid
  • People wanting to do more in their own communities
Health challenges
  • New strains of the virus
  • Impact on other health conditions
  • Growing health inequalities
  • Rising obesity, alcohol-related conditions
  • Impact on mental health
Opportunities
  • Roll-out of vaccine
  • Renewed focus on health in all policies
  • Strong support for healthier lifestyles
Organisational challenges
  • Budget pressures – increased costs of Covid response & recovery coupled with falling income
  • Increased pressure on critical areas – e.g. Public Protection
  • New challenges EU trade agreement implementation
Opportunities
  • Strong support for staff
  • Successful rollout of new ways of working
  • Programme of service innovation
Looking at the data of where Northumberland is currently using regional comparison.

This page was last updated on 1 June at 3pm

It has been several months since the beginning of the UK’s third lockdown and our collective efforts have helped lessen the strain on the NHS, reduce cases significantly in the community and in doing so, save lives. The 17 May saw further restrictions being relaxed as we progress closer to 21 June where further a further lifting of restrictions is expected.

Key Data: Regional Comparison  
Graphs showing new Covid cases by day in each North East area between the dates of 1 July to 10 March
Graph showing the number of new Covid cases in Northumberland between 1 July to 10 March

The second wave of infections hit the LA7 local authorities hard with a rapid, significant increase in cases over the Christmas period that has largely been resolved. This of course, was a nation-wide picture, thus the call for a national lockdown was needed and arguably has been vindicated when reading the above graphs. This, teamed with the successful vaccination programme, is helping the nation get back on its feet. As restrictions are released it is important to remember that we are not out of the woods yet as this virus thrives on human interaction and this has been seen on mainland Europe where some countries have tightened their restrictions again due to a third wave.

Graph showing the 7 day average of cases in Northumberland by age bands

We saw that with the opening of schools on the 8 March when the under-25 age groups had a surge of infections but, thankfully this was short lived as can be seen on the above graph.

Recent data has shown a decline in cases across all age groups, especially in the over-55 category, which is likely due to the efficacy of our vaccines.  The variant of concern, B.1.1.7 also known as the Kent variant is now dominant across the whole of the UK, but thankfully, data suggests that our vaccines are still effective against it.

Due to the UK’s world leading genomic analysis we find ourselves detecting different variants with greater frequency. Although this may alarm some residents it can be seen as a positive as it allows us to respond effectively with mass testing programmes. At the time of writing, this is what is happening in several local authority areas, including North Tyneside due to the so-called ‘Indian variant’ B1.617.2.  This is classified as a Variant of Concern largely because of its increased transmissibility but it does not seem to cause more serious disease and the early information is vaccines are still effective, particularly after two doses.

We cannot say what will happen in the coming weeks. The general consensus is we should anticipate another wave of infection but there is uncertainty about when this will occur, how large it will be and what impact it will have on hospital admissions and mortality. The latest figures can be found here on the Northumberland County Council website where the dashboard is updated daily.
 
From May 17, England moved into Step 3 of Government’s Roadmap for easing Covid restrictions.  This has opened up more activities and, there is now much more emphasis on personal responsibility rather than formal restrictions. However, it’s important to note that some restrictions remain in place.

Poster showing what changed with step 3 on the 17 May. Information about meeting others, travel, shielding and social gatherings

The summary headlines for Step 3 are:
  • Gathering limits have been eased. Outdoor gatherings are limited to 30 people and indoor gatherings are limited to 6 people or 2 households (each household can include a support bubble, if eligible).
  • New guidance on meeting friends and family emphasises personal responsibility rather than government rules. Instead of instructing you to stay 2m apart from anyone you don’t live with, you are encouraged to exercise caution and consider the guidance on risks associated with COVID-19 and actions you can take to help keep you and your loved ones safe.
  • Indoor entertainment and attractions such as cinemas, theatres, concert halls, bowling alleys, casinos, amusement arcades, museums and children’s indoor play areas are permitted to open with COVID-secure measures in place.
  • People can attend indoor and outdoor events, including live performances, sporting events and business events with attendees following the COVID-secure measures set out by those venues.
  • Indoor hospitality venues such as restaurants, pubs, bars and cafes can reopen.
  • Organised indoor sport can take place for all. This includes gym classes. It must be organised by a business, charity or public body and the organiser must take reasonable measures to reduce the risk of transmission.
  • All holiday accommodation can open, including hotels and B&Bs. This can be used by groups of up to 6 or 2 households (each household can include a support bubble, if eligible).
  • Funeral attendance is no longer be limited to 30 people but, will be determined by how many people the COVID-secure venue can safely accommodate with social distancing.  Limits at weddings, wakes and other commemorative events have been increased to 30 people. Other significant life events, such as bar/bat mitzvahs and christenings, will also be able to take place with 30 people.
  • The rules for care home residents visiting out and receiving visitors have changed, allowing up to five named visitors (two at any one time), provided visitors test negative for COVID-19.
  • All higher education students are able to access in-person teaching.
  • Support groups and parent and child group gathering limits have increased to 30 people (not including under 5s)
  • There is no longer a legal restriction or permitted reason required to travel internationally. A traffic light system for international travel has been introduced, and you must follow the rules when returning to England depending on whether you return from a red, amber or green list country.
Government continues to urge people to work from home if possible and travel safely.  Social distancing as well as getting a test and following stay at home guidance remain just as important in Step 3.

For the most up-to-date, detailed Government guidance, including exemptions, click here.
Only when the Government is sure it is safe to move from one step to the next will the final decision be made. 

​Decisions will be based on these four tests:​
  • Test 1 - the vaccine deployment programme continues successfully
  • Test 2 - evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated
  • Test 3 - infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS
  • Test 4 - our assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new Variants of Concern
A low down of what the Council is doing to support the County during step 3 of the government recovery plan.

This page was last updated on 1 June at 3pm

List of services the Council offers

Click on a service below to learn more about how that service is operating.

You can keep up-to-date with any changes to our services during the lockdown period by clicking here
 

Most of our key local services such as bin collection, bulky waste and Household Waste Recycling sites (tips) continue as normal although there is separate guidance on washing hands before and after touching bins as well as what to do with bins if someone in your household has Covid. Our Household Waste Recycling Sites are open (operating summer opening times), but we are advising residents to recycle from home as much as possible. 

Our parks and car parks remain open. Car parks that charge to park will continue to do so.
Northumberland Communities Together
We have continued with our Communities Together Team that was established at the outset of the first national lockdown. The Hub has maintained its arrangements with all community groups and across the county since March.

Working in partnership with community and voluntary groups, Communities Together has developed effective ways of working to support systems for food, essentials, hardship, loneliness and employment support. That working continues. 

Customer Service staff within the Council’s Customer Service Contact Centre continue to deal with customer contacts made via telephone to the Northumberland Community Together telephone number 01670 620015 and also process email contacts both from customers and the wider organisation sent to nct@northumberland.gov.uk. The telephone lines continue to be operational 7 days per week from 9am- 6pm. with any emergency enquiries received outside of these times directed to Onecall.
 
Children and families
Children’s Social Work services are continuing as usual.  Risk assessments and lone working processes have been updated and most visits are undertaken face-to-face.  Statutory meetings continue to be held virtually, in line with current national guidance. Foster and residential care is being maintained and adoption introductions continue.  Family time contact is undertaken directly where this is safe to do so, and, is otherwise undertaken and supported virtually.   Early help and preventative services support are continuing primarily through virtual methods of visiting and virtual delivery of groups where possible, although face-to-face visits for priority work are undertaken and direct delivery of group work in relation to domestic abuse and support for new parents is being implemented.
 
Adult Social Care
We know visiting is a central part of care home life, important for the health, wellbeing and quality of life of residents, family and friends.

As part of its Roadmap, Government updated its guidance for Care Home visiting ahead of moving into Step 3.  In summary this means:
  • Every care home resident can nominate up to 5 named visitors who will be able to enter the care home for regular visits (and will be able to visit together or separately as preferred).
  • Residents with higher care needs can choose to nominate an essential care giver who may visit the home to attend to essential care needs.
  • The 5 named visitors may include an essential care giver (where they have one) but excludes babies and preschool-aged children (as long as this does not breach national restrictions on indoor gatherings).
  • To reduce the risk of infection residents can have no more than 2 visitors at a time or over the course of one day (essential care givers are exempt from this daily limit). The named visitors should be tested using rapid lateral flow tests in line with the testing regime detailed below, should wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), maintain social distancing and follow all other infection prevention and control measures (which the care home will guide them on) during visits.
The following links to the latest Government guidance on care home visits
Registration and Coroners
Our weddings / civil partnership ceremonies are limited to 30 attendees (couple and guests, but not including staff present) where social distance rules permit. Indoor receptions for up to 30 people are also permitted.

For funerals, the maximum number of attendees from 17 May is determined by how many people the venue can safely accommodate, in line with social distancing requirements.  There is no longer a maximum number of funeral attendees in regulations.

Death registration remains telephone appointment based.  Birth registration and notice of marriage or civil partnership remain in person, by appointment. The Coroner Service continues to operate, with as many cases dealt with remotely as possible.
 
Leisure Centres
Active Northumberland centres re-opened on 12 April, and, from the 17 May (Step 3) centres are offering more activities to customers. For more details on what’s on offer, check with your centre as not all sites can offer their normal activities as normal just yet
 
Museums Northumberland
All of our museums reopened on Wednesday 19 May. For more about museum opening times and online information please visit their website by clicking here
 
Libraries
From 17 May, more libraries will be open for longer periods of time-limited browsing and prebooked 45 minute sessions on our Public Access IT.  Some are operating amended hours so please check before visiting. If you prefer to carry on collecting a selection of books made by library staff, you can but, we are looking forward to helping you choose in person as soon as you feel able to visit us. 

Books can be returned to libraries during their opening hours. Fines on overdue books are currently suspended. The mobile library is operating an amended schedule but access onto the vehicle will be restricted. Please check halt times by ringing 01670 620204. Our Reading Friends telephone calls and Doorstep Deliveries to library members will continue as necessary. Our digital library continues to offer hundreds of e-Books, e-Audio, e-newspapers and magazines to read. Our virtual events programme will continue as we prepare the safe resumption of some of our face to face activities. And, our Digital Helpline is also still available for anyone who needs help with getting online or accessing online services. Call 0345 600 6400 and request a call back or complete this short form by clicking here.
 
Outdoor Sport
Organised, outdoor sport (children’s and adults) and outdoor sport and leisure facilities have been re-opened since 29 March. Residents should contact the relevant organising bodies for specific details. 
Throughout the Covid pandemic, our Public Protection Team, including Trading Standards, have very much been on the frontline of providing support, advice, to businesses, helping with compliance and only where necessary taking enforcement action.

As we move through Government’s Roadmap, that essential work is ongoing and we continue to work with businesses on new approaches to trading, helping to interpret the new regulations and providing advice where needed.

Alongside the vital work of Public Protection, supporting businesses, jobs and livelihoods remains a huge priority for the Council.  The current economic data shows a challenging picture.    

Key data: unemployment   
Graph showing Claimants as a proportion of residents aged 16-64

Northumberland claimants graph - Pre-covid and likely BAU

In April there were 10,945 people claiming unemployment benefits in Northumberland.  This is a slight decrease from March, and overall represents a growth of 62% since March 2020.  However, at just under 6%, the number of unemployment claimants as a proportion of residents aged 16-64 in Northumberland remains lower than that in England, the North East LEP and North of Tyne Combined Authority areas.
 
Key data: business confidence
Of the businesses responding to the 30 wave of the national government survey during the reference period 3 to 16 May: 
  • 79.5% of businesses were trading and had been trading for more than 2 weeks, 3.9% had started trading again within the last 2 weeks, 5.1% had paused trading but intended to restart in the next 2 weeks, 7.6% had paused trading and did not intend to start in the next 2 weeks and 3.9% had permanently ceased trading. 
  • 38% of businesses in the accommodation and food service industry were temporarily closed or had paused trading. 
  • 20% of businesses in the arts, entertainment and recreation industry were temporarily closed or had paused trading. 
  • Of businesses currently trading, 32.5% experienced a decrease in profits compared to what is normally expected at this time of the year. 
  • 4.3% of businesses have no cash reserves, 24.2% had less than three months, 14.7% had between four and six months, 40.6% have more than 6 months and 16.1% were not sure. 
  • The accommodation and food services industry had the highest percentage of businesses with no cash reserves, at 9.1%. 
  • 31% of trading businesses had staff working remotely because of the Covid pandemic.
  • 9.6% of the workforce of trading businesses were furloughed (full or partial).
  
Key data: vacancies
Graph showing Northumberland Job postings 2019 to 2021
Bar graph showing the demand of jobs by location


There were 3,378 job postings in Northumberland in the first three months of 2021 and a further 1,356 in April. This is 30% more than the same period last year and 29% more than the beginning of 2019. In April, the unemployment to vacancy ratio was 8.1. In April 2020 this was 19.6 (April 2019, 5.7).  Cramlington had the highest number of job postings during January to April (816); for the same period in 2020, Cramlington had 627 postings. 
 
Support to businesses and employees
In March this year, the Chancellor announced a further package of support to businesses and employees, including an extension of the furlough scheme and further rounds of grants to businesses.  As before, the Council has a key role in getting these grants out to businesses. To find out more about available support to businesses, eligibility and how to apply, click here.   
Schools returned from 8 March and this was managed this very effectively by all involved.

So far, managers and teams have embraced new ways to keep in touch and managers and colleagues continue to support each other, particularly for colleagues who may be more isolated. The Council has a wide-ranging staff support package in place and actively engages with staff about their welfare through a range of staff networks.  Staff are only asked to come into the workplace where this is necessary and, there are no alternatives to working from home. All additional measures to ensure our offices and sites are Covid-safe and secure are in place. 

We continue to provide a range of advice, support and training packages to ensure colleagues are well equipped to work remotely and undertake a range of different duties to assist in critical services. The emphasis on developing a range of measures to support the health and wellbeing of our staff working remotely will be maintained.
Engaging with our residents, businesses and partners and communicating important messages to them is a core part of our response to Covid. Our Communications Team continue to emphasise and amplify national messaging on Covid and what that means for Northumberland including:
  • Outlining the next steps in Government’s Roadmap;
  • Keeping residents and businesses informed about Covid-testing as well as Government’s vaccination programme;
  • What financial and other support is available for residents; and,
  • What support is available for businesses.
We use all available and accessible communication channels to reach every part of our community.
Information about our route map to recovery. Learn about our five point 'public health package'.

This page was last updated on 26 March at 3pm

Our five-point ‘public health package’

Our clear focus is to do all we can to transition smoothly through the four steps set out in Government’s Roadmap. Decisions on moving through the four steps will be based on:

  • The vaccine deployment programme continuing successfully;
  • Evidence showing vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths;
  • Infection rates not risking a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS;
  • Assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new ‘Variants of Concern’. 
 
Our plan to achieve an effective health recovery was originally focused on a five-point health package, developed with our LA7 partners and comprised of:
  1. A localised, regionally coordinated Test, Trace and Isolate programme;
  2. Behavioural Insights programme to support people to do the right thing;
  3. Roll-out of targeted frequent, rapid, ‘Lateral Flow’ testing;
  4. Protection of vulnerable individuals in the community; and,
  5. Rapid implementation of a vaccine programme.

We have had ongoing discussions with the DHSC to develop a NE regional model. If this does progress, the proposal is that it will involve local teams comprised of existing NHS Test & Trace staff based primarily with councils, handling all incident cases from test to results and drawing on a national reserve of call-handlers where required. 

There will be a single IT system for all levels and the system will be coordinated by a Covid Hub Coordination and Response Centre, with analytical support and regular communication to identify commonalities and outbreaks. 

To establish this, our ask of Government is for:
  • Transfer of staff and / or funding to local Teams;
  • Control of telephone-based support in contact pursuit as required;
  • Access to key systems;
  • Staff in regional system to be employed via the Covid Hub;
  • Data sharing to allow cross-boundary shared analysis and intelligence;
  • Financial support for the system.
We aim to take our communities with us and support compliance by encouraging people to do the right thing rather than relying solely on enforcement. We are doing this by:
  • Engaging our communities as part of the solution, creating a balance of living lives and reducing risk, acknowledging the difficult situations that our communities face;
  • Building on existing strengths and the sense of togetherness that has been so apparent during the pandemic;
In addition, we have used behavioural insights work to gain a better understanding about how people are feeling and how well they think the pandemic is being managed. These insights have informed the development of a bespoke communications campaign.

We have started further insight work focusing on care home, teaching and healthcare staff to get a better understanding of the challenges of working in a pandemic whilst protecting themselves and those they look after with a focus on exploring vaccine hesitancy.

We have also launched our community champions programme. Our community champions will have a number of roles including:
  • Acting as a trusted source of information to distribute accurate and up-to-date information on Covid 19 and to challenge myths;
  • Identifying people in communities who may need a bit of extra support; and,
  • Telling us what people are finding particularly difficult and working with us on solutions to make things better.
Everyone in Northumberland is now able to access free, regular, rapid testing. Residents without symptoms of Covid-19 can access rapid lateral flow tests (LFDs) for themselves and their families to use at home twice a week, in line with government guidance. 

Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 - such as a new and continuous cough, loss of taste and smell, or a temperature - should book a test online or by calling 119.

Rapid tests for people without symptoms will be delivered in a number of ways: Anybody who can work from home should remain at home and not seek appointments for asymptomatic tests.
 
We are delivering targeted, behavioural and educational support for clinically vulnerable people and their close contacts (e.g. staff and relatives). There is already a regional group who have been progressing this work, building on the ‘first wave’ and learning from assessments of groups affected by Covid and the consequences of Covid.  This will also build on the North East Care Home Work. 

We’re also working with colleagues in the CCG to ensure vaccination uptake is equitable and doesn't exacerbate inequalities in key groups such as BAME populations, the homeless and other groups for whom accessibility to vaccination will be harder.
The first Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines were administered in Northumberland on 15 December 2020, a week after the first Covid-19 vaccine was given in the UK. The rollout has occurred using an increasing number of GP-led Local Vaccination Sites across the county, a hospital hub at Wansbeck Hospital and various Mass Vaccination Centres in the North East including the Centre for Life and the Nightingale hospital in Washington. More recently, a large vaccination centre has opened at the Hexham Mart to provide better access to people in the west of the county.

The rollout has been extremely successful with recent government reports stating that all adults will have received their first dose by the end of July.  Some 78% of the adult population in Northumberland have now received their first dose with almost 50% of the adult population being fully vaccinated. In the most vulnerable groups, well over 90% have received a first dose and in many of those cohorts, Northumberland has the highest vaccination rates in the North East.

A bar chart graph and data showing the amount of people who have had both their first and second dose of the vaccine.

The delivery of such a vast immunisation programme is extremely complex and not without challenges. The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine was authorised for use by the independent regulator on the 30 December 2020.  With more straightforward storage and administration requirements, it has helped pick up the pace of the vaccination programme. Its association with a very remote risk of clotting or bleeding has resulted in a recommendation that its use is restricted to people over the age of 40 years.

A third vaccine, Moderna, was approved on the 8 January 2021 with first doses anticipated to arrive in the North East shortly.  A fourth vaccine is currently undergoing clinical trials and if approved, may be used in the second half of the year.  Trials are also looking at whether administration with flu vaccine is safe and effective; this is in anticipation of an autumn booster.  Other trials are looking at the impact of giving different vaccines for the first and second dose.

At the time of writing the NHS had provided over 38 million first vaccine doses. The vaccine is a welcome step in the fight against Covid19 and whilst it will protect people from becoming infected, evidence is still emerging on the extent to which it reduces transmission. Despite the success of the vaccination programme, we still have a large cohort of individuals who are unvaccinated.  This means there is still plenty of opportunity for the virus to spread which also risks new more dangerous variants emerging.  For this reason, it is critical that we remain cautious as restrictions are relaxed and keep following the hands, face, space, fresh air guidance and that residents self-isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms.
 

Our five-point plan to economic recovery

Information about our five point plan to economic recovery. These five points are:

  1. Investing in the transition to a future economy
  2. Investing in our places, culture and tourism
  3. Investing in transport, digital and connectivity
  4. Investing in our people, jobs, skills and livelihoods
  5. Investing in a green recovery

Clean energy and clean growth represent a huge opportunity for economic recovery and future growth in Northumberland. We already have international assets at Energy Central in Blyth, with substantial investment committed by the Council and Combined Authority.  And, there is a growing cluster of companies, including EDF, Global Marine Group and others operating in the offshore energy and subsea markets.

The ongoing development at Northumberland Energy Park will make available strategic, quay-linked sites, with Enterprise Zone opportunities. These sites will link to internationally recognised innovation and R&D assets with independent test and research facilities as well as the wider local town regeneration scheme in Blyth.
 
Game-changing investments
  • Northumberland Energy Park Phase 3 (NEP3) – large scale opportunity for international investor in space co-located to major offshore wind development cluster;
  • Northumberland Energy Park Phase 1 (NEP1) – Government commitment to secure interested internal investor for the site;
  • Ashwood Business Park –construction of high-quality industrial space to support growth of the advanced manufacturing cluster;
  • Development of Berwick Ramparts Business Park and Fairmoor Business Park - both Enterprise Zones, to create commercial and ‘Knowledge Intensive’ business expansion and investment
  • Energy Centre Learning Hub – increased ‘STEM’ activity across the region, including skills and career path development, with direct links to industry;
  • Energy Central Development Package – asset and infrastructure improvements building on and developing the existing international assets to attract further private-sector investment;
  • Ethical Food production – development of an incubator and production space to scale up and test products for growing businesses developing plant-based products;
  • Low Carbon Heat Networks & Hydro-electricity – heat networks across a number of areas in South East Northumberland and potential hydro-electric power plant in the Tyne valley.
In a post-Covid world, Northumberland represents a future model for sustainable growth that will contribute to a resilient UK Plc. Pre-Covid, tourism was a significant contributor to the county’s economy, supporting over 15,000 jobs and bringing increasing visitor numbers.  We are renowned for our welcoming people, globally renowned culture and landscapes.  In Hadrian’s Wall, we have a unique attraction and, our National Park and coast are ‘areas of outstanding natural beauty’. So, with support, we are confident tourism will recover and come back stronger than ever.

We are also at the forefront of creating a re-imagined way of rural life that, in a post Covid world, will go from strength to strength.  We will build on opportunities for innovation and growth of agri-technologies.  And, with England’s largest man-made forest in Northumberland as well as the presence of the Forestry Commission, there are opportunities for trialling new, precision forestry technologies.

And, we have a programme of investment in the renewal of our towns which will improve facilities and connectivity for communities as well as attract investment into town centres and surrounding areas.   
  
Game-changing investments
  • Northumberland Line Economic Corridor – a strategic programme to develop major economic infrastructure at stations and station development including Ashington, Bedlington, Blyth, Seaton Delaval, Northumberland Park, Manors and Newcastle Central; 
  • Town Deals for Ashington - following on from the Blyth Deal, and investment plans for smaller towns across the county;
  • Hadrian’s Wall – a capital programme involving the range of World Heritage Site assets across the Wall and a Recreational Route Network that connects the Wall to villages, visitor attractions and existing walking and cycling routes;
  • Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal - turning the unique economic challenges and assets to drive growth and renewal across the border area;
  • Supercharged Rural Scale Up - building on all the lessons from previous initiatives to provide bespoke and agile support services to rural businesses who have the appetite and potential to scale-up their productivity, turnover, and employment;
  • Rural Catalyst - mobilising people and places to realise sustainable growth in rural communities through innovation.  Working in partnership with the National Innovation Centre for Rural Enterprise, the next phase is to establish a Rural Design Centre that helps translate new ideas and research to generate business-led solutions;
  • Natural Capital Investment - developing a new place-based approach to harnessing economic, social and environmental value of our natural assets. Using nature recovery, tree & woodland planting, and, peat restoration coupled with land management innovation and diversification to create a post Covid- 19 countryside that our communities understand, cherish and enjoy.
The connectivity of Northumberland is key to driving future job growth, reducing carbon and tackling inequalities.  Responding to changes in working seen during the Covid pandemic, with greater numbers of people wishing to work from home long-term, as well as ensuring connectivity for businesses requires upgrades to transport & digital infrastructure. 

Game-changing investments
  • Northumberland Line - will create a transformational growth corridor.  ‘Project SPEED’ has huge potential to drive new passenger flows, new housing and commercial sites, as well as jobs opportunities for residents along the corridor;
  • Strategic Road Improvements – opening up future developments and improving travel times and capacity, including ‘A1 dualling’ and a walking and cycling investment programme across the county;
  • Addressing gaps in ‘4G’ through the Borderlands 4G Infill Infrastructure Programme​;
  • Extending delivery of the existing Local Full Fibre programme to strengthen connectivity in rural areas – ensuring that we invest now to support remote working and public services in our rural communities.
The people of Northumberland are our number-one asset. The entrepreneurial, hard-working and friendly communities make the county what it is. We know higher level and new skills are required to drive the growth of key sectors. We also know that post-Covid, we are likely to face more challenges of unemployment and those seeking to change careers. Ensuring we have programmes in place to support people and businesses is key in maintaining business stability and growth and helping our residents realise their potential.

Game-changing investments
  • Skills - the Learning & Skills Service provides over 600 courses to 16-18 year -olds and adults.  Working with the Combined Authority means our provision can, more than ever before, reflect what businesses need; 
  • Sectoral change programme – reaching 6,000 people and focusing on transitioning to emerging ‘green jobs’, allowing us to act fast in securing good job opportunities;
  • A bold 10-year Education Challenge – to sustain gains in educational outcomes and underpin future regional growth;
  • Business Support programmes - which respond to post-Covid needs of business and specific rural support;  
  • Working regionally - to secure future finance for Northumberland businesses building on previous JEREMEY evergreen investment funds.
We have declared a ‘climate emergency’ - pledging to halve the Council’s carbon footprint by 2025 and to work with Government to make the county carbon neutral by 2030. 

Alongside Government’s plans for carbon reduction and green energy, this creates opportunities to make investments as part of our ambition to be the country's leading rural green economy. These include green energy projects, sustainable transport solutions, partnerships with local communities and businesses and protecting and enhancing our natural resources.

Game-changing investments
  • Low Carbon Heat Networks – decarbonising heat in our towns through development of heat networks, using sustainable heat sources such as flooded mine water in Blyth and biomass in Cramlington;
  • Great Northumberland Forest - the creation of a new Great Northumberland Forest where the first step will be to plant up to one million trees by 2024 at three locations across the county. This could rise to 5,000 hectares of new forest by 2030.
  • Renewable Energy - investing in renewable energy sources is a key pillar of our climate strategy. These include a potential hydro-electric scheme in the Tyne Valley, solar energy on commercial and residential property and off-shore wind generation.
  • Electric Vehicle Charging - we will continue to maintain and expand our network of electric vehicle chargers to support the transition to clean transport.
  • Green Homes - we will invest in improving homes across the county to provide energy efficiency and reduce fuel bills. 

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