Northumberland’s council leader has hailed a £37m package to ensure the North of Tyne’s economic recovery from coronavirus is as green as possible.

The North of Tyne Combined Authority, which covers Northumberland, Newcastle and North Tyneside, will spend around one-fifth of its first five-year budget on carbon reduction and creating green jobs.

Northumberland’s council leader Peter Jackson, who is North of Tyne cabinet member for place and productivity, said: “Clean growth is about de-carbonising the county while improving the local economy.

“There are economic opportunities for the North of Tyne in both the application and advancement of low and zero-carbon technologies, as the need grows for renewable, clean energy generation and use.

“Furthermore, it has the potential to lower our residents’, communities’ and businesses’ energy costs.”

A total of £25m will be spent over eight years on the offshore wind industry with the potential to provide thousands of jobs in offshore and sub-sea projects and on infrastructure development.

Another £10m will be spent over three years on a Green New Deal Fund to lead by example and stimulate innovation and business growth in the areas of energy efficiency, renewables and low-carbon transport.

This will complement a £100,000 plan this year to develop the business case for a Carbon Reduction Fund, that it is hoped will attract £10m funding, including for community energy projects.

A £2m Green Skills Programme will target workers wishing to retrain from traditional to ‘Green Growth’ industries and a further £100,000 will be spent by 2023 to help communities reduce their carbon emissions.

North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll said: “Right now, attention is on tackling the coronavirus pandemic.

“I’m working with business groups, local authorities and central government to make sure people’s livelihoods are protected.

“We’re getting an economic recovery plan in place, ready for when the public health crisis is over.”

The Bishop of Newcastle and chairman of the North of Tyne Combined Authority inclusive economy board, the Rt Rev. Christine Hardman, said it was important to focus help on those worst affected.

“When the inclusive economy board was formed to help make sure any economic prosperity created in the North of Tyne goes right down to the people who need it most, I never dreamt how timely it would be," the Rt Rev. Christine Hardman continued to say: