Environment: a clean, green and safe Newcastle

We believe that everyone deserves to live in a clean, pleasant neighbourhood, that everyone should feel safe in their community and that we should respect future generations by protecting the environment.

Currently, Newcastle produces too much waste. It costs in the region of £14 million a year to collect and dispose of the city’s refuse. Taking a radical approach to waste management will be critical to ensuring the city operates within sustainable environmental and financial limits. We are continuing to explore how people can be encouraged to reduce, recycle and reuse waste, responding to the recommendations of the Newcastle Waste Commission.

Access to arts, culture, leisure and green spaces is integral to our quality of life. Increasingly, these factors define the attractiveness of a city to investors, businesses, residents and visitors. A shared passion for culture and leisure, openness to innovation, and cooperative spirit has enabled us to secure a viable future for many of the city’s communal assets.


  • A well-kept city
  • A city with cultural vibrancy


What are we doing to achieve this priority during 2018-19?

  • Responding to concerns raised by residents about street cleaning and levels of litter, including through a spring clean-up and the development of a new Waste Strategy.
  • Responding to the six recommendations from the Newcastle Waste Commission:
    • a voluntary ban on single use plastics in the city
    • a voluntary ban on drinking straws in pubs, clubs and restaurants
    • setting an ambitious target to be a zero-food waste city
    • a re-use mall where unwanted items can be bought, sold and swapped
    • exploring alternatives to the council sending waste to Sweden
    • setting up a city-wide partnership for groups to share ideas and good practice
  • Responding to resident concerns about street cleaning and levels of litter by carrying out a spring clean-up, focussing on sweeping and fly-tipping, litter picking, dog fouling, graffiti removal and shrub maintenance.
  • Developing plans to improve recycling rates and reduce the amount of non-recyclable material from contaminating recycled waste.
  • Continuing to make Newcastle a greener city through the development a new air quality plan and supporting walking and cycling. We are working jointly with Gateshead and North Tyneside on a study to produce a preferred option to improve air quality in the shortest time possible (also a key health issue).
  • Establishing a new charitable trust model to maintain and develop Newcastle’s parks and allotments for future generations.
  • Retaining our stake in Tyne and Wear Museum and Archives but with a reduced financial contribution. TWAM will continue to deliver an ambitious programme of exhibitions and events at our museums while also generating income through sales of merchandise, hiring our space and fundraising activities.
  • Supporting the delivery of the Great Exhibition of the North and ensure that our residents are able to access the range of events and benefit from the legacy of hosting the national event.
  • Using our Great North City Fund to attract new cultural and sporting events of international significance to supplement our existing tourism offer and bring lasting social and economic benefits to the city.
  • Exploring different, innovative ways to hear the views of residents.


How will we measure our progress?

  • Proportion of residents who cycle at least once per month compared to NE
  • Level of recorded crime compared to English Core Cities
  • Progress against local operational service standards
  • Number of in-person visits to museums
  • Number of enforcement actions relating to fly-tipping and waste offences
  • Safe Newcastle Plan and annual report


Some of our achievements in 2017-18

  • The Public Space Protection Order was implemented, helping us to regulate face-to-face charity collections in the city centre and tackle issues connected with begging.
  • For the fourth consecutive year we carried out the second highest number of prosecutions for waste crime nationally, highest in the North-East and amongst core cities. We undertook 91% of waste crime prosecutions in Tyne and Wear and 12% of those in England.
  • We launched the Waste Commission to review how the management of waste in the city can be improved. The ‘No Time to Waste’ report was published in February 2018, setting out Newcastle could become a world leader in waste reduction has been unveiled.
  • We removed over 2,000 small litterbins and replaced them with around 900 large capacity litterbins increasing the city’s litterbin capacity by 18%.
  • We launched the Local Operational Service Standards, which set out the operational response times to neighbourhood issues in line with the resources available. We also launched online forms to allow citizens to report neighbourhood issues via our website.
  • Northumbria Police have been working with partners increase confidence to report crimes to the police. These changes have contributed to an overall increase in recorded crime in Newcastle. A very high proportion of respondents to the 2017 Residents’ Survey reported that they feel safe outside in their local area (87%) and in the city centre (81%).
  • Footfall at the Discovery Museum grew by 17% with a varied programme, including the opening of ‘Charge!’, the story of England’s Northern Cavalry, Discovery Days holiday programme, popular Play + Invent space, Uniformed Group Badge Day and BBC Children in Need. The same number of people visited the Laing Art Gallery as the year before; the new exhibition Paul Nash from Tate, and the major Bomberg exhibition, plus talks, tours and workshops, encouraged continued in visitor interest.
  • The NewcastleGateshead Initiative secured £5 million to host the Great Exhibition of the North. The 80-day Exhibition will take place from 22 June to 9 September celebrating art and culture, design and innovation from across the North. The programme for the Exhibition includes A Great Northern Soundtrack hosted by Lauren Laverne, the return of Stephenson’s Rocket and a new solo exhibition from Turner Prize winner Lubaina Himid. People will also get the chance to see the best in Northern creativity from pop art pioneer Richard Hamilton, renowned sculptor Anthony Gormley and live music performances.
  • Cabinet approved the creation of a charitable trust to look after Newcastle’s parks. The Board of Trustees is being appointed to and we are working with a recruitment agency to recruit the Chair of the Board and a Chief Executive. We continue to work with the National Trust and other partners to ensure that the smooth transition to the Parks Trust by early 2019.
  • An expression of interest we submitted in partnership with Northumberland FA and Newcastle United Foundation has been accepted, enabling us to progress to the next stage of the Parklife programme. This is a nationwide project driven by the FA, the Premier League and Sport England aimed at improving football facilities. Two specialist hubs with artificial grass pitches will be developed in Newcastle; the proposed locations are Blakelaw Park and Bullocksteads in Kingston Park.
Page last updated: 
17 July 2018
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