Eden council’s new director says he aims to raise the district’s economic profile.

Les Clark has joined the authority as director of people and place and has a track record in facilitating environmentally sensitive development.

Mr Clark said he wanted to make sure any new development in the region was sustainable.

In a previous role at Newcastle City Council, Mr Clark headed the sustainability unit that took it from being the UK’s sixth most sustainable city to the first within five years. And at Sunderland, he helped ensure that the huge International Advanced Manufacturing Park will result in no net loss to local ecology, despite being the biggest economic development site in the North East.

Mr Clark said: “I want to work closely with the business community to raise the profile of the district as a place where business can grow and invest and ensure that economic development is also sustainable development.

“Eden has great opportunities because of its strategic location on the national transport network, but we must ensure that when development does occur that it can be done as sensitively to the environment as possible.

“We should aim towards having no net carbon impact and protect the local environment which must be the district’s biggest asset.

“We have a broad range of businesses here at the moment from the agricultural sector all way through to hi-tech and digital and we want to encourage them to grow in the most sustainable way both environmentally and economically. The same goes for new investment.”

Mr Clark’s appointment follows the council’s decision in July to declare a climate emergency and aim at making the authority carbon neutral by 2030.

As director of people and place, Mr Clark will also be in charge of council services including waste and recycling.

He will also be responsible for developing strategies around economic development and is keen to meet local businesses to hear their views.

Mr Clark, 50, is married to Kate, who works at the University of Cumbria in Carlisle. They have two daughters, Kanuni, 22, and Alice, 20.