North East Combined Transport Activists’ Roundtable
Information Bulletin  Issue 116      April 2014
This Information Bulletin is produced around 1st of each month, with target deadline for submissions around 20th of previous month. We are experimenting with the MailChimp eNewsletter system (feedback please!) – but it is available as a Word file on request.
If you are receiving this e-Bulletin and don’t want to, or if you can think of a person or organisation who isn’t but should be please contact Nic Best
The NECTAR website is It carries downloadable copies of recent NECTAR submissions, this e-bulletin, news items and links to other useful sites. We’d appreciate comments, suggestions and material for inclusion.
If you have any information relating to any items in the eBulletin, or any other matter that needs to be shared, please send it in!
A NECTAR Group has been established on Linked-In – any reader using that network is welcome to join. For those not familiar with it, Linked-In is social-networking for professionals focussing on skills, networking, work CVs etc. See
The NECTAR email discussion list hosted by FoE has had to be wound up due to software upgrades. There is a clear need for such a list - for urgent communication and discussion - but an attempt to replace it with a Google Group has not been very successful. Could anyone with suggestions about how to set up a simple non-intrusive discussion list please contact Nic Best.
Diary Dates
Dates of WATBike guided bike rides in the Northumberland Coast AONB and surrounding areas throughout April can be downloaded from our website or emailed on request – or email:
Sat 5th – Mon 7th Apr First Berwick Walking Festival
Sun 6th Apr: Morpeth Duathlon organised by VO2 in cooperation with Morpeth Town Team
Sun 27th Apr: Stockton Borough Council in partnership with Trihard is holding the Stockton Duathlon Festival

May is National Walking Month

12th – 16th May: Walk to Work Week
Weds 14th May: Hartlepool Transport Champions (Council-led community scrutiny network) “Cycling Initiatives” 3:30pm-5pm Hartlepool Civic Centre
Sat 17th – Sun 18th May: FoE Big Green Bike Ride
19th – 23rd May Walk to School Week
Thurs 5th Jun: Newcastle Cycling Forum
Weds 11th Thurs 12th Jun: Urban Freight Conference, Univ Newcastle starting Weds pm and runs all day Thurs. Free, Watch this space for details.
Sat 14th Jun: Railfuture North East Branch Meeting 2pm. Newcastle Arts Centre at 67 Westgate Road NE1 1SG. Guest speaker: Paul Salveson, Founder of the Community Rail Movement. All welcome. Contact Tony Walker
Sat 21st Jun: Living Street’s Supporters' Conference NCVO, King’s Cross, London. Bringing together campaigners and politicians to explore ways to lobby for change and put pedestrian issues firmly on the political agenda ahead of the General Election. Book your place now:
26th – 29th June: Coasts and Castles Cycle Ride (Advert): “The Coast and Castles cycling route, beginning in the beautiful Scottish capital Edinburgh and finishing in the historic Tynemouth, is a stunning cycling experience taking in miles of dramatic cliff tops and a wealth of historical intrigue. The coastline of Northumberland and the Scottish Borders is littered with ancient settlements, abbeys, watch towers and imposing castles dating back as far as the 13th century, all of which can be explored on this amazing cycling trip, adapted from the official 200 mile Sustrans Coast and Castles cycle route. (Route 1)” Cost £180.00 including three nights B&B, full van support, all baggage transfers, ‘Hillsnhangovers’ t-shirt, transfers to Edinburgh for you and your bike, on-route cycle guide Contact Tony Parker tel 0739 320 9396

Thurs 5th Sept: Newcastle Cycling Forum

Weds 10th Sept: Hartlepool Transport Champions (Council-led community scrutiny network) “Road Network” 3:30pm-5pm Hartlepool Civic Centre
Thurs 4th Dec ‘14: Newcastle Cycling Forum
Weds 14th Jan ‘15: Hartlepool Transport Champions (Council-led community scrutiny network) “Car Parking” 3:30pm-5pm Hartlepool Civic Centre
Weds 13th May: Hartlepool Transport Champions (Council-led community scrutiny network) “Rail Services – including connectivity between modes” 3:30pm-5pm Hartlepool Civic Centre
Regional News
1 Newcastle CC’s consultation on the proposed Red Route through Gosforth (Gosforth Consultationcloses 4th April. Newcastle Cycling Campaign is advocating support for Option 2, a two-way cycleway, suggesting Option 1 is substandard. See and Email (cc or bcc with your views. Note too Newcastle CC’s on-line survey
2 Strong opposition to the Newcastle CC’s proposals is coming from a local campaign group STURR. Local NECTAR eBulletin residents in Gosforth have characterised STURR as a campaign supporting the interests of a very few against the first tentative moves towards sustainable transport solutions from the Council. Arguments along the following lines are advocated (full article available on request):
  • A good public transport system - one which get people out of their cars and onto buses and trains – is required
  • The gains in terms of reduced pollution, reduced congestion and so forth far outweigh any costs.
  • Due priority for buses is part of the package and far more people will benefit from fast, reliable bus services.
  • Red Routes reduce the visibility problems caused by parked and resulting hazards for both cyclists and pedestrians.
  • Cycle lanes are near worthless if they are routinely blocked by parked cars. .
  • Over 50% of shoppers in Gosforth come on foot or by bus and cycle. There is plenty of car parking space anyway on top of the shopping centre and behind the old Post Office. On Shields Road, 45% of trade is from bus passengers.
  • There is no god-given right to have parking facilities on one's doorstep. Basic and urgent needs such as good public transport and encouragement for active transport must come first.
3 NECTAR is currently seeking grantfunding or ‘no strings’ corporate funding totalling £1500-2000 pa to cover its operating costs Besides this eBulletin and the linked website (, it is run by volunteers who have a great track record of constructive responses and submissions across all modes of sustainable transport over nearly 15 years.
4 Tees Valley Unlimited has published its Strategic Economic Plan. The strategy focusses on six
  • Develop and nurture an innovative culture and positive environment for business growth
  • Secure the transformation of Tees Valley into a Low Carbon High Value economy
  • Secure improved skills levels to address future demand in growth sectors and in existing industries
  • Secure additional capacity on the East Coast Mainline rail route and improve rail services to major Northern cities and within the Tees Valley
  • Improve air, road, port, land and property infrastructure to enable economic growth
  • Create and retain wealth by establishing Tees Valley as a preferred location to live in, work and visit.
5 24th Mar: DfT has released the invitation to tender for the East Coast franchise. Features include supporting the roll out of a new fleet of intercity express trains; a continuation of services to all current destinations; and faster and more frequent services to and from King's Cross by May 2020. It is anticipated the successful bidder will be announced in November. The new franchise will start in March 2015 and run for eight years with the possibility of a one-year extension. The three shortlisted bidders are:
  • Inter City Railways Limited (Stagecoach Transport Holdings and Virgin Holdings);
  • Keolis/Eurostar East Coast (Keolis (UK) and Eurostar International)
  • East Coast Trains (First Group). Journal: East Coast Main Line franchise battle is launched
6 The SENRUG Spring 2014 Newsletter (#23) is now available as a download from the NECTAR website or on request (4pp PDF). It includes a focus on the Group’s campaign objectives for Cramlington and an article by Neal Smith, East Coast's Head of Communications.
7 More than £1m from the Rural Community Broadband Fund is to be invested in extending fibre broadband coverage in the Durham and Tees Valley.
8 The route of the Northumberland Coast Path and St. Oswald's Way will be diverted between Warkworth and Alnmouth from 23rd April for up to two months. The section between Buston Links and Alnmouth Road, Hipsburn will be closed, to enable the resurfacing of the cycle path. A diversion route will be in place for walkers to avoid this section, and Walkers are advised to allow an additional 40 minutes to an hour to walk this section of the path. See map
9 Full-scale tracks and signalling will be used to train future rail engineers at NCG’s forthcoming £5 million Rail Academy in Gateshead.
10 Letter in the Guardian from Cllr Nick Forbes and other council leaders arguing in favour of HS2:
11 Northumberland CC are nine months into a four year programme to replace all their street lights with LEDs which they believed would save them £25M in maintenance and energy costs. Wonder how they are getting on?
12 Nexus’ Metro strategy through to 2030 includes proposed links to Cobalt Business Park, the Metrocentre, Doxford Park, Seaham and the West End of Newcastle. New stations could also appear on existing parts of the line along with ‘tram’ services to some destinations.
13 Serco and Abellio will continue to run the Northern Rail franchise through to 2017 after signing a further 22-month agreement with the DfT.
14 bmi regional passengers from Newcastle Airport will be able to book through to Brussels Airlines destinations across Europe, Africa, the Middle East and North America following a "codeshare" agreement between the firms.
15 Northumberland CC has published its draft three year Local Transport Plan 2014-17 programme (available on request) which is likely to be adopted shortly, though subject to expected central government funding levels being delivered. For 2014-15, a total capital allocation of £17.9M has been made comprising £2.7M on integrated transport and £15.2M on highway maintenance (including an additional DfT highway maintenance allocation of £1.4M.
16 Northumbrian Roads, a privately owned highway surfacing and maintenance contractor, has made a significant increase both in revenue and pre-tax profit.
NECTAR consultation responses currently in preparation
Subject by Deadline Lead
Rail Franchises DfT   Malcolm Chainey
SubRegional Economic Strategy NE LEP awaited  
National & International News
17 Network Rail is to invest up to £38Bn in infrastructure over the next five years. A £600 million "Northern Hub project" which will upgrade stations and the infrastructure to provide better connectivity and faster journey times, particularly between Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds.
18 Chris Burchell, managing director of Go-Ahead's southern operations for the past ten years, is taking over as managing director of UK trains for Arriva.
19 A recent poll for ‘The Observer’ found 36% support HS2 and 30% oppose it, but 64% back improving existing connections between northern cities such as Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield and Leeds – with just 4% opposed.
20 According to the 2011 census data, in 2011, 741,000 people cycled to work, up 90,000 compared with 2001, but the percentage remained unchanged at 2.8%. There was an 81% increase in cycling to work in Newcastle but in the majority of local authorities (202 out of 348), the numbers of people cycling to work declined.
21 London Assembly Transport Committee has published a report “Feet First” on pedestrian safety in London - where on average, in 2012, three pedestrians per day were killed or seriously injured: "Green Man time has been reduced at 568 crossings across London since 2010. Reduced crossing times encourage pedestrians to take greater risks. For other groups, particularly older and disabled people, it can affect their confidence when crossing the road."
22 SENRUG is organising a competition for schools in their area to produce a 7-10 minute DVD setting out the business case for re-opening the Ashington Blyth & Tyne line. They sponsorship for a cash prize for the winning school  and hope to get sponsorship to take the winning student team on a trip to London where they will present their entry to their constituency MP (either Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery or Blyth Valley MP Ronnie Campbell).  Please draw this item to the attention of any teachers you know, or school students in the area who would be keen to participate. Schools need to advise us if they intend to submit an entry by the end of this term. They can obtain a further set of details and competition rules from
23 A new toolkit “Under the Weather” has been published to help Council-run Health & Wellbeing Boards integrate adapting to climate change into the local health economy.
If you have any comments or suggestions about this bulletin please contact
Contacts quoted for reports or further information:
Nic Best 01670 517915
Martin Murphy 01665 608150
Peter Walker 01642 566396
Tony Walker  0191 386 4534
NECTAR, the North East Combined Transport Activists Roundtable, is an open, voluntary, umbrella body, established to provide a forum in which the many organisations with an interest in sustainable transport in all its forms can develop a co-ordinated view on contemporary transport issues. NECTAR provides opportunity for the exchange of news, studies and information.
The NECTAR area of interest covers the North East of England from the North Sea coast to the Pennines and from Scotland to North Yorkshire.  NECTAR provides a voice for dialogue with government, transport providers, transport users and similar bodies concerned with transport and related policy and practice locally, nationally and internationally.
Membership of NECTAR is open to organisations which:
•         support the use of sustainable transport and sustainable changes to the transport infrastructure
•         broadly support integrated transport and land use policies which reduce the need to travel
•         promote better provision for public transport, walking and cycling
•         seek to minimise any negative environmental or social impacts of transport, whilst maximising accessibility, safety, good health and quality of life for all
•         NECTAR is one of a national network of Transport Activists’ Roundtables working together with the Campaign for Better Transport, railfuture and similar national bodies that share the core aim to promote sustainable transport.
NECTAR executive committee members currently include Campaign to Protect Rural England (North East), CTC - the national cycling charity, Durham Coastliners, Friends of the Earth (North of England and Newcastle/Gateshead), Living Streets Tyneside Area, railfuture northeast, Saltburn Line Rail Users Group, Tyne & Wear Older People’s Transport Forum, Tyne & Wear Public Transport Users Group and the Tyne Valley Community Rail Partnership, but all are welcome to participate.

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