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County Councillor Report (Mar 2022)

by Wendy Pattison

wendy.pattison@northumberland.gov.uk – Tel. 07779 983072

And also on Facebook: Cllr Wendy Pattison

Photo portrait of Councillor Wendy Pattison

[All text, portrait photo and ‘Great Northumberland Forest’ logo provided by Cllr Wendy Pattison and used with permission. Received: 26 February 2022.]

HEDGELEY PARISH

The Government announced that all Covid-19 restrictions would end in England on Thursday 24th February.

Photo of facemask alongside the words 'Covid-19'

[Image by leo2014 from Pixabay]

The legal requirement to self-isolate after a positive test will be removed.

From April 1, free mass lateral flow testing will also be stopped.

While the law may be changing, the fact that these measures help to reduce infections, prevent illness, and help keep yourself and those around you safe has not changed.

The lifting of these requirements does not mean the pandemic is over. Covid-19 continues to spread and people of all ages remain susceptible to infection.

We would continue to ask you to be sensible and cautious in the weeks and months ahead as we all learn to live with Covid.

It’s also not too late to get your jabs if you’re yet to begin a course of vaccination. Every jab helps build levels of protection within our community. So whether you still need your first jab, or you need a 2nd or a booster dose, please come forward.

As with any other illness, if you are unwell then please stay at home and remove the risk of passing your illness on to others. If your children are sick, then similarly try to keep them home from school so others don’t become ill as well. Other measures we have become used to, such as wearing a face covering in crowded indoor spaces, keeping a safe distance from others, washing hands regularly and ventilating rooms will also continue to be effective.

While the pandemic has had a significant impact upon us all, please be considerate of those who may be more vulnerable or nervous than you as restrictions and requirements are lifted. For some, this will be a daunting time if they are at greater risk of serious illness. Please, continue to be kind.

We are in a very different place to where we were when the pandemic began. We have a largely vaccinated population offering a very good level of community protection, and we of course understand the need for people to get on with their lives and focus on their physical and mental well-being. Living with Covid is new to us all, but communities have stuck together through all we have faced so we are confident you will do the same again.

Working together as a region has got us this far in challenging and uncertain times, and that is exactly how we will continue through this next stage. We will do all we can to make sure we progress smoothly and protect our most vulnerable residents, limit the pressures on health services, keep children in school, and help our region recover from the effects of the pandemic.

The Queen’s Green Canopy

The Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC) is a unique tree planting initiative created to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022 which invites people from across the United Kingdom to “Plant a Tree for the Jubilee”.

Everyone from individuals to Scout and Girl guiding groups, villages, cities, counties, schools and corporates were encouraged to play their part to enhance our environment by planting trees during the official planting season between October 2021 to March 2022.

Tree planting will commence once again in October 2022, through to the end of the Jubilee year.

With a focus on planting sustainably, the QGC will encourage planting of trees to create a legacy in honour of The Queen’s leadership of the Nation, which will benefit future generations. 

As well as inviting the planting of new trees, The Queen’s Green Canopy will dedicate a network of 70 Ancient Woodlands across the United Kingdom and identify 70 Ancient Trees to celebrate Her Majesty’s 70 years of service. 

Everyone should be able to get involved in Planting a Tree for the Platinum Jubilee in celebration of The Queen’s 70 years of Service to the Nation. Whether you are a seasoned gardener or a complete novice, the QGC will guide you through the process of planting trees so that they survive and flourish for years to come.

If you wish to plant a tree in your garden to commemorate the Platinum Jubilee, we recommend you order a tree/trees from a certified Plant Healthy nursery in your area. From October 2022, you can once again add your Jubilee tree to the QGC map.

You may also wish to mark the occasion with a commemorative plaque. The QGC is offering a physical, as well as a virtual commemorative plaque option, in keeping with an environmental initiative.

To celebrate the Jubilee, Northumberland County Council have linked up with residents, schools, community groups, towns and parishes across Northumberland to plant tree saplings this winter.
Trees help capture harmful emissions in our atmosphere and convert them into the oxygen that we breathe on a daily basis. Planting more trees will help the county become carbon neutral and create an environment that our residents can enjoy for generations to come.

A message from Council Leader Glen Sanderson:

Planting more trees is just one of the many ways we’re involving residents in helping achieve Northumberland’s target to become carbon neutral by 2030.

Our fantastic Free Tree Giveaway scheme aimed to give every household in our county the opportunity to plant a tree over the next decade, with 15,000 tree saplings up for grabs each winter.

Tree planting is more important than ever following the destruction caused by Storm Arwen in November, leading to the loss of thousands of mature trees across the region. If you weren’t able to plant a tree this winter, please consider taking us up on the Free Tree Giveaway for next winter to help us replace the trees we have tragically lost. Applications for NCC free Tree Giveaway are currently closed.

Applications will reopen again in summer 2022.

The Woodland Creation Partnership

Coloured logo of the 'Great Northumberland Forest'

The Northumberland Woodland Creation Partnership is made up of 14 organisations.  The partners include: DEFRA, Northumberland County Council, Forestry Commission, Natural England, the Woodland Trust, Northumberland National Park Authority, the Environment Agency, the Country Land and Business Association, Forestry England, the MOD, Confor, Northumberland CAN (Community Action Northumberland), the National Farmers’ Union, and the Northumberland Wildlife Trust.

The Great Northumberland Forest is a plan to plant millions of trees, creating more wooded landscapes across the county by 2030.  This will help tackle the big challenges facing society, such as climate change, biodiversity decline, promoting health and wellbeing, and supporting a thriving local economy.

The idea is inspired by our determination to leave a better, more diverse, and more productive natural environment for the benefit of future generations.  By planting more trees, we will create new, natural environments that our children, communities, and businesses will benefit from for decades to come.

The new wooded areas will:

  • Provide beautiful new and enhanced landscapes
  • Absorb carbon and reduce climate change impacts, such as flooding
  • Help grow our agriculture, forestry and wood processing businesses, creating jobs and prosperity
  • Provide recreational areas to improve health and wellbeing, and offer new activities for visitors
  • Improve and expand habitats for plants and wildlife
  • Provide clean air and water
  • Lead a green recovery in Northumberland as we emerge from the Covid 19 crisis

A variety of different woodland types and sizes will be created to suit local needs, from the planting of individual trees, orchards, and small community woodlands, to larger-scale schemes bringing together farming, forestry, biodiversity, and recreation.  In some places there will be slow growing native woodlands providing habitats for treasured wildlife.  In others, faster growing, highly productive woodlands will rapidly absorb carbon and produce timber.

New trees will be planted in places across our diverse county, from our rural and farming heartlands, to our stunning coastal communities, on the fringes of our traditional industrial towns, to remote upland locations. Together they will be known as the Great Northumberland Forest.

For farmers and businesses, this will mean new opportunities to earn income from the land, diversifying into woodland management and outdoors-based tourism, or building sustainable forestry and wood processing businesses, creating jobs and wealth along the way.

For local people and communities, it will mean more opportunities to enjoy nature, live healthy lifestyles, appreciate our beautiful landscapes, and play our part in protecting the environment, fulfilling Northumberland’s commitment to become a ‘net zero carbon’ place by 2030.

In creating new woodland areas, we will take great care to safeguard our most precious open landscapes and wildlife habitats, including in our National Park and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs), as well as preserving our best land for sustainable local food production.  We will work closely with farmers and land managers, encouraging them to plant trees for the benefit of their businesses and local communities.  People, communities, and land managers are at the heart of planning and leading the growth in tree planting across the county.

The Great Northumberland Forest will be a very visible expression of our unique identity and our passion for landscapes, nature, and the environment.  A legacy from our generation to the next – created for the benefit of all Northumbrians from all backgrounds and communities, strengthening the distinctive character of the county for many generations to come. Learn more about the Great Northumberland Forest’s vision. (enquiries.forest@northumberland.gov.uk)

Find out more about the Woodland Creation Planning Grant on the gov.uk website

Support Music Partnership North

The arts have the power to shape a young person’s future. Find out how you can help support music in Northumberland.

Photo of someone playing a xylophone

[Image by Guilherme Trucollo Guilherme Trucollo from Pixabay]

The arts are not simply ‘nice to have’, or an ‘add-on’ to education. They have the power to change and shape young lives. Music in-particular can create opportunities for children to express their ideas and form their values.

Funding is reducing every year and families are finding it harder to find the money to pay for music lessons for their children.

Music Partnership North are the Music Service for Northumberland County Council and work in partnership with Newcastle music service and Sage Gateshead.

£15 per month can sponsor a child’s place in a county ensemble.

  • £18 per month would provide free instrumental or vocal tuition for a child.
  • £6 per month would provide free instrument hire for a child.
  • A one off donation of £15 would buy a child’s place on a workshop day​.
  • To find out more about this, please contact as below

Business Development Officer: Fiona Johnstone (01670 624039)
Fiona.Johnstone@northumberland.gov.uk       

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