HEXHAM is to get two community orchards as part of a proposal to plant more than 600 trees across the county.

Prudhoe will also benefit from the £265,000 two-year tree planting programme, which will see 633 trees planted at 29 locations across Cramlington, Seghill, Seaton Delaval, Blyth, Bedlington, Choppington, as well as in the two Tyne Valley towns.

The two orchards in Hexham will involve local children in the tree planting, while local communities will benefit from the healthy fruit crops.

In Hexham, 20 fruit trees will be planted at two sites next to Greenbank and Hillcrest Drive in the east end, while 50 mixed species of tree will be planted opposite Biverfield Road in Prudhoe and a further 12 next to Scales Crescent, West Wylam.

The project has been funded by Northumberland County Council’s successful bid to the Forestry Commission’s Urban Tree Challenge Fund.

It aims to improve the county’s urban tree cover, making urban areas more appealing for recreation and wildlife, while contributing to carbon capture.

Coun. Glen Sanderson, cabinet member for environment and local services, said: “We’re delighted to have secured this funding.

“After declaring our climate emergency earlier this year, we must do everything we can to reduce our carbon footprint.

“This scheme will not just improve the environment, it contributes to our carbon capture proposals under the climate change action plan

“We’re also planning to engage with local schools to encourage participation with the planting, giving the next generation a real sense of ownership.”

Members of Northumberland County Council’s cabinet agreed to declare a climate emergency at their meeting in June.

They also vowed to halve the authority’s carbon footprint by 2025, and make Northumberland carbon-neutral by 2030.

The newly planted trees will all be in parks or public open space that is owned by the county council.

Larger, lower maintenance trees will be planted for a more immediate impact. All the sites are in densely populated areas, with most in the south east, where the former coalfield areas currently have low numbers of trees.

The news comes just weeks after the government announced plans to plant one million trees across the county in a bid to create three new forests in Northumberland.