New scheme to tackle environmental issues

Some of the new local environmental team who will be working in Cramlington.
Some of the new local environmental team who will be working in Cramlington.

New teams have been created to tackle environmental issues in local communities.

The teams – set up through a partnership between Northumberland County Council and the local town councils – will help keep areas green and streets clean in Ashington, Blyth, Cramlington and Seaton Valley, with Newbiggin due to come on board.

A total of at least 28 new full-time jobs have been created, with the councils hoping to use the partnership to provide training for local people through apprenticeships and work experience opportunities.

The new arrangements have been set up with the aim of delivering services including improved grass cutting, litter picking, street sweeping and shrub bed maintenance within local communities.

The scheme has already been running in Choppington, which was used as a pilot.

Barry Rowland, corporate director of local services at Northumberland County Council, said: “This is great news and a unique initiative in local government circles.

“In a time when many local authorities are being forced to cut jobs and reduce services, Northumberland County Council, by partnering with local town and parish councils, has managed to buck the trend and create new full-time jobs to meet local needs and enhance day to day services.”

Through the new partnerships, each parish or town area has a dedicated team to tackle local issues, in addition to what the county council already provides.

The local council will also play a key role in determining the type of work the team will carry out in their area.

Members of the teams can be identified by a new logo for each town, which is displayed on their uniforms and machinery.

The scheme will provide enhanced service standards as well as more flexibility to react quickly to local concerns.

Another partner to get on board is the council’s arms-length housing management company Homes for Northumberland, which will be working with Northumberland County Council to enhance the quality of communal areas and open spaces on its estates.