HEREFORDSHIRE Council will appoint Michael Hainge as its new director of environment next month.

His duties will include overseeing radical plans to put environmental issues on an equal footing with social and economic concerns.

Currently, Mr Hainge is assistant director of environmental protection and regulation at the London Borough of Enfield.

"I am immensely excited to be given this opportunity to serve the people and county of Herefordshire," said Mr Hainge.

"I have family connections with the county and am really looking forward to moving here.

"I will be working very hard with my new colleagues to improve still further our excellent services and to protect our outstanding environment."

He will join Herefordshire Council in April, taking over from Graham Dunhill, who is retiring after more than 40 years in local government.

"Michael has a strong track record in environmental crime fighting' at Enfield and previously at Westminster," said Councillor Roger Phillips, leader of Herefordshire Council.

"We felt that if we were to be the best, we needed to recruit the best."

The local authority aims to continue its waste reduction, recycling, healthy transport and carbon management strategies and preserve the county's reputation for being clean and green.