BLACKBURN with Darwen Council's chief executive Denise Park has taken over as chair of the body co-ordinating Lancashire's public service response to the coronavirus pandemic as it moves from 'emergency' status into 'recovery'.

She replaces her county council counterpart in charge of the Lancashire Resilience Forum (LRF) which is made up of representatives from including the emergency services, local authorities and the NHS.

The switch was announced as it formally moved from its emergency response to a recovery phase as lockdown restrictions ease across the county,

Ms Ridgwell said: "The decision to stand down the emergency response to Covid and formally move to a recovery phase reflects the monumental efforts of all Lancashire residents, businesses and partners to suppress the virus by following the guidance, respecting the restrictions and getting vaccinated when called."

Ms Park said: "While there will undoubtedly be many challenges in the months ahead, there is much to be hopeful for as we look towards the future.

"While we consider that it is the right time to move from response to recovery, the situation remains extremely serious.

"It is therefore crucial that people continue to follow the rules, especially as restrictions start to ease across the county, and help avoid another surge in cases.

"The positive partnership working that has gone on throughout the pandemic will continue in the new arrangements as the pandemic has shown up that Lancashire is at its best when we all work together."

As part of the move, the LRF's Strategic Coordinating Group will pass the mantle to its Recovery Coordination Group.

This group will ensure partners continue to work together using common intelligence to respond to issues that materialise from the pandemic.