A North East council has committed to making County Durham filming friendly.

Durham County Council has signed a filming friendly charter with North East Screen in order to help the TV and film industry grow across the region.  

The charter, which is being signed by all authorities in the region, aims to maximise the economic and cultural benefits that filming can have on an area and make it a positive experience for everyone involved.

To be filming friendly, the council will ensure there is a single point of contact for production companies; build a network within the authority of all departments impacted by filming; facilitate the use of council property for filming; and work with North East Screen to publicise and promote any filming taking place.

Cllr Amanda Hopgood, Leader of Durham County Council, said: “We are delighted to sign the filming friendly charter. This is the next step in our commitment to helping the TV and film industry in the region grow and we look forward to supporting the creation of jobs and raising the profile of County Durham.

“With a rich heritage, stunning scenery and fantastic people, we have so much to offer film and television productions. This will help to boost our economy with the creation of jobs, help to develop skills amongst our residents and firmly put the county on the map as a filming location and visitor destination.”

The agreement follows an announcement earlier this year that councils would be working in partnership with the BBC and North East Screen to invest in the industry and develop a vibrant and inclusive cultural offer as part of a North East Screen Industries Partnership (NESIP).

The partnership will support the growth of creative industries in the region and county, as well as enabling significant skills development and future employment.  

It will also see the BBC invest at least £25 million in programming in the North East over a five year period, with local and combined authorities matching this between them by putting £11.4m towards the development of screen industries across the region. 

There have been 14 productions filming across County Durham recently, ranging from BBC1 documentary series Ambulance to Ken Loach’s new feature film The Old Oak and TV series Vera. It is hoped the charter will significantly increase the numbers of productions set in the county and region.

Alison Gwynn, chief executive of North East Screen, said: “We are working closely with the North East Screen Industries Partnership and the BBC to encourage and promote filming across the North East. We want all parts of our region to benefit. It is important that each local authority area is committed to welcoming production crews and make the process of filming as smooth as can be. North East Screen will support them to do this.

“The economic and tourism benefits of a production filming in our area and the jobs it can create for local crew, as well as local businesses across the supply chain, is something we don’t want any part of the North East to miss out on.

“We are delighted that Durham County Council has signed up to the charter and look forward to working with them to encourage more filming in the county.”

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