A NEW man has taken over the reins of a leading countryside organisation.

Douglas Chalmers is the new regional director of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA), taking over from Antony Haslam, who retired last month.

Mr Chalmers, who was previously North-West regional director, said: "Farmers, landowners and businesses right across the North face common challenges this year.

"Our members in the North can now benefit from a larger team with considerable experience in rural issues.

"To further strengthen the team, we will also be appointing a deputy regional director, based in the heart of the North-East, who, together with the North-East committee, will form a considerable CLA presence for members locally."