5 July 2002

Environment assets score

THE north-east has some of the highest quality environmental assets in England, with over half the region either part of the National Park or designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

More than half of the north-east has Less Favoured Area status.

A 2001 Countryside Agency report also notes that the regions rivers continue to improve in quality in line with the rest of the country. In 1990, 71% of rivers in the north-east were described as having good quality water. This rose to 85% in 1999, a 14% improvement. On individual rivers, there has been an even more marked effect. In 2000, the total catch of salmon on the River Tyne was the highest since 1927.

The State of the Countryside – north east 2001, says there are almost 83,631ha (201,107 acres) of land under agreement within agri-environment schemes. Income from these schemes contributes £6.59m a year towards the regions economy. &#42