CAMPAIGNERS have welcomed figures that show alcohol consumption in the North-East fell faster than anywhere else in the country last year.

Colin Shevills, director of North-East alcohol agency Balance, said: “The figures show that rates of alcohol consumption between 2009 and 2010 fell faster in the North-East than anywhere else in the country.

“This moves our region nearer to the English average and further away from our usual role as the sick man of England when it comes to alcohol misuse.”

But Mr Shevills urged caution, pointing out that people are still drinking greater amounts and more regularly than they were in 2005 and more than twice as much as in 1950.

“There is a long way to go if we are to truly turn back the tide of alcohol misuse in the North-East.”

According to the Office for National Statistics, in 2005, 21 per cent of North-East men drank at least eight units of alcohol on one day in the past week, compared with 27 per cent in 2009 and 21 per cent in 2010. The corresponding English average was 18 per cent, 20 per cent and 19 per cent.

When it comes to North- East women, nine per cent drank at least six units of alcohol in 2005, increasing to 17 per cent in 2009 before falling to 12 per cent in 2010. The English average was eight per cent, 13 per cent and 12 per cent.