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North-East England is one of the nine official regions of England and comprises the combined area of Northumberlandmarker, County Durham, Tyne and Wear, and Tees Valleymarker (including parts of North Yorkshire). The historic name for North-East England is Northumbriamarker and whilst a few regional bodies still use this name, it is rarely used in everyday conversation. The significant cities and towns in the region are: Newcastle upon Tynemarker, Sunderlandmarker, Durhammarker, Middlesbroughmarker, Stockton-on-Teesmarker, Hartlepoolmarker and Darlingtonmarker.


Generally the region is hilly and sparsely populated in the North and West, and urban and arable in the East and South. The highest point in the region is Cheviot, in the Cheviot Hills, at .

As well as its urban centres of Tynesidemarker, Wearsidemarker and Teessidemarker the region is also noted for the richness of its natural beauty. Northumberland National Parkmarker, the region's coastline, its section of the Pennines including Teesdalemarker and Weardalemarker provides evidence for this. It also has great historic importance, the evidence of which is seen in Northumberland's Castles, and the two World Heritage Sites of Durham Cathedralmarker and Durham Castlemarker and of Hadrian's Wallmarker. St. Peter's church in Monkwearmouthmarker, Sunderland along with St.Pauls in Jarrowmarker also hold significant historical value. They have a joint bid to become a World Heritage Site.

Economic history

Teesside Transporter Bridge
The shipbuilding industry that once dominated both Sunderland (once the largest shipbuilding town in the world) and Tyneside suffered a terrible decline during the second half of the twentieth century. Tyneside is now re-inventing itself as an international centre of art and culture and, through The Centre For Life, scientific research (especially in stem cell technology) and popular nightlife, in areas such as the Quayside or The Gate. After suffering economic decline during the last century, Sunderland is becoming an important area for quaternary industry, science and high technology. The economy of Teessidemarker is largely based on its petrochemical industry. Northumberland and County Durham, both being largely rural, base much of its economy on farming and tourism.

In May 2005, the 'Passionate people. Passionate places.' regional image campaign was launched to promote North East England as a great place in which to work, study, visit and invest.

Local government

The official region consists of the following subdivisions:

Map Ceremonial county Unitary authority Metropolitan districts
1. Northumberlandmarker
Tyne and Wear * 2. Newcastle upon Tynemarker, 3. Gateshead, 4. North Tyneside, 5. South Tyneside, 6. Sunderlandmarker
Durham 7. Durham
8. Darlington
9. Hartlepoolmarker
10. Stockton-on-Teesmarker (North of River Tees)
North Yorkshire
(part only)
10. Stockton-on-Teesmarker (South of River Tees)
11. Redcar and Clevelandmarker
12. Middlesbroughmarker

Key: metropolitan county = *


The region was created in 1994 and was originally defined as Northumberlandmarker, Tyne and Wear, County Durham and Clevelandmarker. As part of a reform of local government, Cleveland has since been abolished and several unitary districts created. The North East has been considered to be very religious especially Northumberland (home of the Lindisfarne Gospels), some of the scenery in the outlying villages is of considerable quality.

The region is now considered to consist of four distinct 'sub-regions':

A referendum in 2004 as to whether a directly-elected regional assembly should be set up for North East England resulted in a decisive "no" vote.

In November 2004 people in the North East voted "no" in a referendum on whether to set up an elected regional assembly. The total number of people voting against the plans was 696,519 (78%), while 197,310 (22%) voted in favour.

Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott admitted his plans for regional devolution had suffered an "emphatic defeat".

Conservative spokesman for the regions Bernard Jenkin said the vote would mean the end of plans for a north-east assembly. He told the BBC: "The whole idea of regional government has been blown out of the water by this vote".


The region has a rich natural heritage, its diverse landscape includes maritime cliffs and extensive moorland containing a number of rare species of flora and fauna. Of particular importance are the saltmarshes of Lindisfarnemarker, the Tees Estuarymarker, the heaths, bogs and traditional upland hay meadows of the North Penninesmarker, the distinctive Arctic-alpine flora of Upper Teesdale, the Farne Islandsmarker (which contain rare seabirds such as the Roseate Tern) and the magnesian limestone grasslands of East Durham - a habitat found nowhere else in the world. The North East also features woodland such as Kielder Forestmarker, the largest man-made forest in Europe. This is located within Northumberland National Parkmarker and contains an important habitat for the endangered red squirrel. The region is the English stronghold of black grouse and contains 80-90% of the UK population of yellow marsh saxifrage.A recently created site for bird watching is Rainton Meadowsmarker.


Although the North-East region has the lowest rate of HIV infection in the UK, it has the highest rate of heart attacks for men, and for lung cancer for women in England (just below Scotland), and the highest lung cancer rate for men in the UK. It has the joint highest birth rate for women under 20 in the UK (with Wales). It also has the highest youth unemployment (ages 16–24) in the UK, and the second highest trade union membership for men (after Northern Ireland). For English students in higher education, those for the North East are most likely (72%) to pick a university in their home region; Scotland is the highest with 95% staying in their home country. The North East also has the highest proportion of Christians in the UK.

By region, the North East has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in England. Inside the region, the top-tier authority with the highest rate is Hartlepool, with Easingtonmarker the council district with the highest rate. The top-tier authority with the lowest rate is Northumberland and the council district with the lowest rate is Tynedalemarker in Northumberland.


Angel of the North
The East Coast Main Line cuts through the region with stops at Newcastlemarker, Durhammarker and Darlingtonmarker, providing fast connections to London and Edinburgh. The region is also served by the Durham Coast Line which connects Sunderlandmarker, Hartlepoolmarker and Middlesbroughmarker with the main line. The two main arterial carriageways, the A1marker and the A19, mirror the railway trajectory. However, north of Morpethmarker, the A1 is single carriageway. There is a ferry terminal at North Shieldsmarker. DFDS operate two ferries a day to Amsterdammarker and, until 1 September 2008, one a day on the Stavangermarker - Haugesundmarker - Bergenmarker route. The two main airports are Newcastle Airportmarker located north of the city near Pontelandmarker and Durham Tees Valley Airportmarker located east of Darlingtonmarker.The Tyne and Wear Metro is a light rail network which serves the metropolitan county of Tyne and Wear, with stations in both Newcastle and Sunderland city centres, other towns and suburbs in the county, as well as at Newcastle Airportmarker and other attractions such as the St James' Parkmarker, Stadium of Lightmarker, and Gateshead International Stadiummarker

Transport policy

As part of the national transport planning system, the Regional Assembly is required to produce a Regional Transport Strategy to provide long term planning for transport in the region. This involves region wide transport schemes such as those carried out by the Highways Agency and Network Rail.Within the region the local transport authorities plan for the future by producing Local Transport Plans which outline their strategies, policies and implementation programmes. The most recent LTP is that for the period 2006-11. In the North East region the following transport authorities have published their LTP online: Darlingtonmarker, Durhammarker, Hartlepoolmarker, Middlesbroughmarker, Northumberlandmarker, Redcar and Clevelandmarker,
 Stockton-on-Teesmarker and Tyne and Wear.


The North-East region has the lowest GDP/capita in Englandmarker, and second lowest in the United Kingdommarker only behind Walesmarker. The economy was for several decades unusually highly focused on two industries, ship building and coal mining; hence the phrase taking coals to Newcastle. Land use in County Durham and Northumberland is agricultural in the majority.

The former regional electricity company Northern Electric is now managed by CE Electric UK.


Teesside Power Station
ICI was next to Wiltonmarker on a huge site between Estonmarker and Redcarmarker, and also in Billinghammarker. Petroplus refine oil at the Port Clarencemarker (former Teesside) Refinerymarker. Teesportmarker is the second busiest port in the country. Hartlepool has a nuclear power stationmarker, and there is a gas turbine power stationmarker and a CHP power stationmarker on the ICI Wilton site. Huntsman Tioxide has a large plant at Greathammarker that makes titanium dioxide, and its European headquarters are in Billingham. Aldous Huxley's visit to the former ICI plant in Billingham inspired him to write Brave New World. Marlow Foods make Quorn in Billingham. Corus Group makes steel on Teesside and makes pipes in Hartlepool.

Tyne & Wear

Newcastle Brown Ale
Swan Huntermarker until 2006 made ships in Wallsendmarker, but still designs ships. Scottish & Newcastle was the largest UK-owned brewery until April 2008 when it was bought by Heineken and Carlsberg, and has the Newcastle Federation Brewery in Dunstonmarker, which produced Newcastle Brown Ale. Production is about to be moved to Tadcastermarker. The government's Child benefit office is in Washingtonmarker. Northern Rockmarker, which became a bank in 1997, is based in Gosforthmarker and there is the Newcastle Building Society. Findus UK until recently was based in Longbentonmarker. Nestlé have a chocolate factory in Fawdonmarker. The MetroCentremarker, the largest shopping centre in Europe, is in Dunstonmarker. The previous Government National Insurance offices (demolished and replaced in 2000) in Longbenton had a long corridor. Siemens make steam turbines at the CA Parsons Works in South Heatonmarker, Newcastle. Barratt Developments is in Benwellmarker, Newcastle, and Bellway plc is in Seaton Burnmarker in North Tyneside. Evans Halshaw, the car dealership, is based in Sunderland. The Sage Group, who make accounting software are based in Newcastle. Arriva, the large international transport company is based in Sunderland. Also in Sunderland, between North Hyltonmarker and Washingtonmarker on an old airfieldmarker, is a car factory owned by Nissan Motor Manufacturing Ltdmarker and the outdoor clothing company, Berghaus, in Castletownmarker.


Ashington has the Alcan Lynemouth Aluminium Smeltermarker with the Lynemouth Power Stationmarker next door.


GlaxoSmithKline has a site at Barnard Castlemarker that makes pharmaceuticals. KP Snacks (owned by United Biscuits) make Phileas Fogg snacks in Consettmarker. Black & Decker used to have a large factory at Spennymoormarker but production was moved to the Czech Republicmarker in 2002. Electrolux closed its cookers factory there in 2008, with production moving to Polandmarker. Sunderlandmarker is well known for its call centres and this industry is rapidly expanding in the area.


Darlington stayed relatively un-industrialised throughout the 20th century with finance and manufacturing being the main elements of its economy. Today Darlington is recognised for its railways more than anything as the first railway in the world was constructed through the town. Cleveland Bridge company which is responsible for the Sydney Harbour Bridgemarker and Tyne Bridgemarker is still based in Darlington. The Orange mobile network provider also has a large site in Darlington. Argos and Aldi have major national depots in Darlington. Cummins, an American engineering company, also has a large site in Darlington. The town centre continues to develop into a successful retail hub for the region with a large new £110m shopping centre, 'The Oval', on the way in the next few years. The national safeguarding authority has set up its national office here, which vets people on jobs for vulnerable people. The Student Loans Company has recently set up in Lingfield Point. Darlington's economy is one of the most improving in the country.


Secondary education

The North East education system consists of largely comprehensive schools but with a number of private and independent schools found in Newcastle, Sunderland, Durham, Darlington, Stockton and Northumberland in particular. At GCSE level, the region performs similar to other largely urban areas although generally results are below the national average. Middlesbrough performs the worst with average results significantly below the national average for England. Newcastle and Sunderland improved significantly in 2007 from the previous year. Only North Tyneside performed above average, with Northumberland and Darlington not far off. St Thomas More RC High Schoolmarker in North Shieldsmarker (a voluntary funded Roman Catholic specialist technology college) and Emmanuel City Technology Collegemarker (a selective independent state school) and Lord Lawson of Beamish Community Schoolmarker (A public state school, recently re-built) are two of the three performing schools in Gateshead. Other well performing schools in the region include the Macmillan Academymarker in Middlesbrough, the Carmel RC Technology Collegemarker, Hurworth Schoolmarker and Hummersknott Schoolmarker, all in Darlington.

At A-level, local education authorities in the north east are improving, but produce results substantially below other areas of the England. Sunderland performs the best, followed by Darlington which are both some way above the England average. Darlingtonmarker is particularly noted for Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form Collegemarker, which is one of the most highly rated colleges in England. Sunderland and its catholic schools all do reasonably well at A level, as most other catholic schools in the area. Close to the England average are also Redcar and Cleveland and Northumberland. South Tyneside is consistently the worst performing LEA at A-level in the region. Middlesbrough performs much better at A level than GCSE, and conversely North Tyneside performs relatively worse at A level for an LEA that performs so well at GCSE. All Northumberland have a sixth-form along with a three-tier system of education. Many schools in the area, especially Teesside do not have a sixth form.

The independent and private schools in the area perform highly. Central Newcastle High Schoolmarker and Royal Grammar Schoolmarker, Newcastle were both named in the top 100 independent schools nationally in 2006; Durham Schoolmarker is one of the oldest in England. The private schools out-perform the state schools in the urban areas.

Tertiary education

Newcastle University
At the higher education level the North East contains a number of internationally acclaimed universities. These include Durham Universitymarker, the third oldest university in England and often ranked among the ten leading UK universities; Newcastle Universitymarker, a member of the Russell Group, and the newer universities of Northumbria University, University of Sunderland and Teesside Universitymarker.

Local media

Local media include:

Reference line notes

  1. BBC NEWS | Politics | North East votes 'no' to assembly

External links

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