Programme set to be even better in 2016

Northumberland County Council is already sowing the seeds for the spring and summer ground maintenance programme after its success in 2015.

Following a review, the authority will invest in further resources to improve the performance of highway verge cutting and weed control.

This includes buying six quad bikes equipped with weed sprays to spray herbicides around more difficult-to-reach obstacles.

They will have snow ploughs and tow bars so that they can be used to help with clearing ice and snow from footpaths during the winter period.

The council is also investing a further £300,000 to deliver a better winter grounds and tree maintenance programme for 2015/16 following positive feedback from the service.

This includes retaining 25 seasonal summer grounds maintenance staff to assist in undertaking path edging, shrub-bed pruning, hedge cutting and basic tree works over the winter period, which will improve the appearance of towns and villages ahead of the summer months.

Coun Ian Swithenbank, cabinet member for local services, said: “Providing and maintaining a high-quality environment helps improve our residents’ sense of well-being, brings people together and promotes civic pride across the county.

“We’re confident that our planned service improvements will help us to preserve these high standards during 2016.”

Thanks to the efforts of the neighbourhood services team in 2015, the authority secured the prestigious Green Flag status for 10 of its parks.

They also supported local town and parish councils and ‘in bloom volunteers’ to take home 15 awards.