CONCERNS over the environmental footprint of new school buildings in Hexham have been raised with local councillors.

Plans were approved earlier this month for a £36m investment in new buildings, which will see Hexham Middle School and Queen Elizabeth High School pupils all located on the current high school site.

However, at the county council’s planning meeting, concerns were raised by local residents that the new school would not be carbon neutral.

And at last week’s Hexham Town Council meeting, a resident asked: “The £36m investment for a new school in Hexham is going ahead without taking any concerns or suggestions to make it sustainable in terms of energy and transport into consideration.

“How does this make sense and how are we going to explain this to the young people of Hexham who are going to live with the consequences of climate breakdown.”

Coun. Stephen Ball, deputy mayor, said: “From its initial planning application, there has been additional £400,000 made available from the county council to provide more sustainable energy in the future, so as a general principle we were in favour of the school being rebuilt.”

County councillor and Hexham town councillor, Derek Kennedy, who spoke at the planning meeting to raise similar concerns, added: “Both the county council and town council have declared a climate emergency and the thing you have got to think about is the word emergency.

“If it’s an emergency, it needs something done drastically so I would have much preferred a carbon neutral school.

“We did ask that, but the council decided to go with the school that it has gone with so democracy has taken place.”