Progress is being made on three Northumberland projects that will protect nature and enhance the county’s green credentials.

Northumberland County Council has begun developing plans to enhance biodiversity through a Local Nature Recovery Strategy (LNRS) pilot, the Northumberland Peat Partnership and the Great Northumberland Forest.

These initiatives will support the delivery of the Government’s 25-year Environment Plan as well as contributing to the authority’s target of making Northumberland carbon-neutral by 2030.

Council leader Glen Sanderson, who is also the cabinet member for the environment, said: “We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change our approach to managing our land so that we can enhance the benefits of our environment for future generations, and help our residents benefit from a cleaner and greener county.”

Northumberland is one of five pilot areas in England for the LNRS and will work with Natural England to develop clear strategies to protect nature as part of the new Environment Act, which will apply nationwide once in force.

The goal of the Great Northumberland Forest is for up to one million trees to be planted by 2024, initially focused on three locations – Rushy Knowe, Kielder; Otterburn Ranges; and Monkridge, West Woodburn.

The Government has given the council an initial grant of £200,000 to convene a tree partnership to work alongside key Defra agencies, Northumberland National Park Authority (NNPA), Kielder Forest and Water Park, the forestry sector, landowners, farmers and community groups on the new forest.

The council has also backed the newly-formed Northumberland Peat Partnership, supporting the positive management and restoration of peatland habitats in the area.