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 26 March at 2pm

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.  

Since March 2020, 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 are still in this third National Lockdown although Government’s Roadmap sets out a pathway to recovery. Our priority is to work with Government, residents, partners and businesses to ensure we follow Government’s recovery roadmap and emerge with Covid infection rates much reduced, our vaccination programme on track and leading economic recovery. 

This has undoubtedly been a year like no other but Government’s recovery roadmap, announced on 22 February provides a welcome measure of certainty for the coming months. As we move through the four steps of Government’s 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 26 March at 2pm

It has been several weeks 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 8 March saw some restrictions relaxed with the most important being children returning to school. 

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. Thankfully, this has largely been resolved. This of course, was a nationwide picture, thus the national lockdown was needed and arguably has been vindicated when reading the above graphs. The lockdown, coupled with the successful vaccination programme, is resulting in lower case rates, hospital admissions and deaths.

As restrictions are eased in the coming weeks and months, 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 in response to a third wave.

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

The 7-day average of cases by age bands shows the under 25s carrying a higher proportion of infections with a marked increase at the beginning of September and after half term. It is still too early to comment on whether we will see a similar increase after the September half term of last year as this time round we have a national programme of Lateral flow tests (LFT) being distributed and a significant proportion of the adult population has been vaccinated.

The overall trend as seen above is a decrease in cases in all age bands, which is of course encouraging. 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 current data suggests that our vaccines are still effective against it. Due to the UK’s world leading genomic analysis we are detecting different variants swiftly; although this may alarm some residents it can be seen as a positive as it allows us to respond effectively with mass testing programmes. This was the case when the South African variant (B.1.351) was detected. 

It is hard to say with certainty what will happen in the coming days and weeks due to the volatile nature of the situation, but with the lockdown in place and the vaccination programme underway, case rates will hopefully continue to fall. The latest figures can be found here on the Northumberland County Council website where the dashboard is updated daily.
 
From January 4, England moved into a third National Lockdown (STAY AT HOME). The aims of this are to reduce the increasing rate of infection and contain the growing pressure on Health Services. Despite the publication of Government’s recovery roadmap on 22 February, it’s important to be clear that for now we remain at a STAY AT HOME LEVEL OF ALERT. 

Poster showing what you can and can't do during stay at home regulations

In summary, STAY AT HOME means:
  • You must not leave,or be outside of your home except where necessary. You may leave the home to:
    • Shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person
    • Go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home
    • Exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person, this should be limited to once per day, & you should not travel outside your local area.
    • Meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one
    • Seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse)
    • Attend education or childcare - for those eligible
  • If you do leave home for a permitted reason, you should always stay local in the village, town, or part of the city where you live. You may leave your local area for a legally permitted reason, such as for work.
  • If you are clinically extremely vulnerable you should only go out for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential. You should not attend work.
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 1 of the government recovery plan.

This page was last updated on 26 March 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 during this National Lockdown 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.  We must also stress that any trips to the HWRC should be deemed 'essential', as per Government guidance. 

In line with Government Guidance, country parks and car parks remain open although current Government guidance also states that where people leave their home for any permitted activities, they should remain in their towns, villages or part of their city.   
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 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 during the lockdown. 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 are undertaken for priority work. 

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 published new guidance from 8 March 2021. This replaces previous guidance on care home visiting and states care home visiting should be supported wherever it is possible to do so safely. It applies to care homes for working age and older adults. The following sets out a very high-level overview of Government’s advice to support safe visiting, including:
  • Every care home resident will be able to nominate a single named visitor who will be able to enter the care home for regular visits. These visitors should be tested using rapid lateral flow tests before every visit, must wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and follow all other infection control measures (which the care home will guide them on) during visits.
  • Visitors and residents are advised to keep physical contact to a minimum.
  • Visitors and residents may wish to hold hands but, should bear in mind that any contact increases the risk of transmission. There should not be close physical contact such as hugging.
  • Residents with the highest care needs will also be able to nominate an essential care giver.
  • Care homes can continue to offer visits to other friends or family members with arrangements such as outdoor visiting, substantial screens, visiting pods, or behind windows.
Government’s view is that welcoming anyone into care homes from the community inevitably brings risk of COVID-19 transmission. However, their view is these risks can be managed and mitigated, and should be balanced against the importance of visiting and the benefits it brings to care home residents and their families.

The following links to the latest Government guidance on care home visits
Registration and Coroners
Weddings and civil partnerships are not permitted under the current restrictions unless classified as an ‘exceptional circumstance’ e.g. imminent end of life. 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.

Government’s Roadmap identifies:
  • 8 March - as permitting funerals (30), weddings (in exceptional circumstances) and wakes (6);
  • 29 March - weddings without exceptional circumstances (6);
  • 12 April - funerals (30) and weddings, wakes and receptions (15);
  • 17 May - most significant life events (30); and,
  • 21 June - no legal limit on life events.

Archives
The Archive Service is currently closed for physical access. The Service will be contactable via telephone Monday to Friday on 01670 624358 or by email at archives@northumberland.gov.uk. The Archive Service will continue with their digital outreach work.
 
The Archive Service will continue with their digital outreach work.
 
The Roadmap will permit Berwick Archive Office within the Walkergate building to reopen 12 April, and the Archive Office within Museums Northumberland (at Woodhorn Museum) to reopen on 17 May.

Leisure Centres
All leisure and sports facilities (including gyms) remain closed in line with the current restrictions. The Roadmap will permit 'individual use' of indoor leisure facilities, including gyms from 12 April. 

Currently, we are scoping reopening plans with Active Northumberland.
 
Museums Northumberland
Sites remain closed to the public with a digital programme in place.  We expect re-opening of the main site in line with the Roadmap on 17 May.
 
Libraries
Select & Collect services are now available from Blyth, Cramlington, Hexham, Morpeth, Berwick, Ashington, Rothbury, Haltwhistle, Wooler, Amble and Bedlington.

Staff are continuing doorstep deliveries in association with NCT Support Planners. From 2 February, the Library Service offered free printing of home-schooling materials to parents/carers with an initial focus on those most in need. And, the 'Reading Friends' initiative has now begun to support the digital offer. The Befriending Calls and Digital Helpline continue.

Outdoor Sport
The Four-Step Roadmap identifies 29 March as permitting organised outdoor sport (children’s and adults) and outdoor sport and leisure facilities.
 
Events
The Roadmap identifies: 12 April as permitting 'event pilots'; 17 May indoor events (1,000 or 50%); outdoor seated events (10,000 or 25%); outdoor other events (4,000 or 50%); and, 21 June for larger events.
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.

During this National Lockdown, that essential work will continue. Services have adapted towards providing more advice and support to businesses. 

Through adaptations like ‘click & collect’, many businesses have been able to adapt throughout the Lockdown but, we continue to work with them 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 January there were 10,970 people claiming unemployment benefits in Northumberland. This is a slight increase from December, and overall represents a growth of 62% since March 2020. 

Just under 6% of the population aged 16-64 in Northumberland were claiming unemployment benefits in January. However, 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 regions.
 
Key data: business confidence
Of the businesses responding to the 25th wave of the national government survey during the reference period 8 February to 21 February: 
  • 72% of businesses were trading and had been trading for more than 2 weeks, 1.5% had started trading again within the last 2 weeks, 3.4% had paused trading but intended to restart in the next 2 weeks, 20.8% had paused trading and did not intend to start in the next 2 weeks and 2.3% had permanently ceased trading. 
  • 55% of businesses in the accommodation and food service industry were temporarily closed due to lockdown regulations. 
  • 41.5% of businesses in the arts, entertainment and recreation industry were temporarily closed or had paused trading. 
  • Of businesses currently trading, 43% experienced a decrease in profits compared to what is normally expected at this time of the year. 
  • 4% of businesses have no cash reserves, 27% had less than three months, 15% had between four and six months, 35% have more than 6 months and 17% were not sure. 
  • The accommodation and food services industry had the highest percentage of businesses with no cash reserves, at 9.4%. 
  • 35% of trading businesses had staff working remotely because of the Covid pandemic.
  • 16% 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 2,077 job postings in Northumberland in the first two months of 2021. This is 1% less than the same period last year but 12% more than the beginning of 2019. In January the unemployment to vacancy ratio was 10, in January 2020 it was 5.7. Cramlington had the highest number of job postings in January and February (336); for the same period in 2020, Cramlington had 357 postings. 
 
Support to businesses and employees
On Wednesday 3 March 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 will have a key role in getting these grants out to businesses. To find out more about available support to businesses, eligibility and how to apply, 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 absolutely essential 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 make the National Lockdown work and then 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 in those vaccinated;
  • 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 package.

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.
The use of the new Lateral Flow Devices, which provide results in a shorter space of time, is a rapidly evolving area. This will help to identify those individuals who do not have symptoms but are potentially infectious, helping to break the chain of transmission and prevent outbreaks.

Northumberland is delivering community testing across the county for key workers without symptoms of Covid-19. If you have symptoms of Covid-19, you must book a test through the Government's website here. Community testing for people without symptoms is being promoted to key workers in the following groups who cannot work from home and do not have access to testing through their employer:  
  • Education or childcare settings including childminders, early years settings and nurseries; 
  • Carers (including informal carers, paid carers and those working for voluntary organisations); 
  • Small or local public or voluntary sector organisations e.g. food banks; 
  • Small businesses providing key services e.g. waste management, taxi firms, public transport; 
  • Small businesses (less than 50 staff), sole traders or self-employed people;  
  • ​Medium-sized local businesses (generally businesses between 50 – 250 staff) unable to practically access institutional testing. 
In the longer term, we encourage larger employers to register and access testing though Government’s recently launched employer-led testing programme.

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. The rollout has been very successful with recent Government reports stating all adults will have received their first dose by the end of July.  The North East recently passed the milestone of 1 million vaccines.

COVID-19 vaccination first phase priority groups

Priority 1 - Residents in a care home for older adults and staff working in care homes for older adults
Priority 2 - All those 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers
Priority 3 - All those 75 years of age and over
Priority 4 - All those 70 years of age and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals (not including pregnant women and those under 16 years of age)
Priority 5 - All those 65 years of age and over
Priority 6 - Adults aged 16 to 65 years in an at-risk group (see clinical conditions below)
Priority 7 - All those 60 years of age and over
Priority 8 - All those 55 years of age and over
Priority 9 - All those 50 years of age and over
Priority 10 - Rest of the population (to be determined)

Clinical conditions list:
  • a blood cancer (such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma)
  • diabetes
  • dementia
  • a heart problem
  • a chest complaint or breathing difficulties, including bronchitis, emphysema or severe asthma
  • a kidney disease
  • a liver disease
  • lowered immunity due to disease or treatment (such as HIV infection, steroid medication, chemotherapy or radiotherapy)
  • rheumatoid arthritis, lupus or psoriasis (who may require long term immunosuppressive treatments)
  • have had an organ transplant
  • had a stroke or a transient ischaemic attack (TIA)
  • a neurological or muscle wasting condition
  • a severe or profound learning disability
  • a problem with your spleen, example sickle cell disease, or you have had your spleen removed
  • are seriously overweight (BMI of 40 and above)
  • are severely mentally ill

The delivery of the immunisation programme is complex and challenging. The Oxford Astra Zeneca 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. A third vaccine, Moderna was approved on the 8 January 2021 with first doses expected in the spring.  A fourth vaccine is currently undergoing clinical trials and if approved, may be used in the second half of the year.

At the time of writing the NHS had provided over 24 million first vaccine doses. 

The key message to residents is to wait until you are contacted about your vaccine. There will be a call for anyone over 70 or who is Clinically Extremely Vulnerable to contact their GP if they think they have been missed in due course. The vaccine is a welcome step in the fight against Covid-19 and whilst it will protect people from becoming infected, we do not yet know the extent to which it will prevent transmission. For this reason, it is critical that we keep following ‘hands, face, space, test and self-isolate 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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