AMBITIOUS plans which promise to shape Essex for years to come have been approved by Essex County Council.

'Everyone’s Essex' is the council’s plan for "levelling up" the county from now until 2025.

The new cabinet at Essex County Council says it has put levelling up at the heart of its agenda as the county recovers from the pandemic and builds for the future.

Everyone’s Essex sets out 20 commitments which aim to deliver the agenda and improve the lives of the people of Essex.

The plan develops the themes leader of Kevin Bentley set out during the first 100 days of office – economy, environment, health and family.

These include addressing unemployment in Essex, which is the highest it has been for 30 years, by building people’s skills as well as working closer with businesses to reduce barriers for disadvantaged groups.

Health inequalities will be tackled by addressing the conditions that create poor health, such as inadequate housing, poverty, economic insecurity and low skills.

Another goal is halving Essex’s greenhouse gas emissions over the next ten years, meaning the county can become carbon neutral by 2050, through speeding up the shift to greener housing, transport and energy.

Mr Bentley said: “We have come through the most extraordinary 18 months.

"We’ve been tested to the limit but have risen to the challenge. We’ve seen just what we’re capable of achieving if collectively we work together to support one another.

“The next challenges are clear – we must be bold in our ambition to renew parts of the county that have suffered through the pandemic, and ensure that no one is left behind by being rigorous in our commitment to equality.

“I am determined that in Essex we can build a better future.

"The task is huge – but we shouldn’t be daunted by its scale. We are Essex, and we will build back better.”