North East Combined Transport Activists’ Roundtable
Information Bulletin  Issue 119      July & August 2014

Bumper Holiday Edition

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
Weds 3rd Sept: Tyne & Wear Freight Partnership time, venue tbc.  Martin Murphy represents NECTAR at these meetings
Weds 10th Sept: Hartlepool Transport Champions (Council-led community scrutiny network) “Road Network” 3:30pm-5pm Hartlepool Civic Centre
Fri 12th Sept: SENRUG Schools Competition Public Meeting 7:30pm Morpeth Town Hall. SENRUG has run a schools competition for students to produce a DVD highlighting the business case for re-opening the Ashington Blyth & Tyne line. Entries have been received from five schools: their DVDs will be shown and the winners announced on the night.
Sat 13th Sept: Infra safaris (scouting Newcastle's Strategic Cycle Routes): SCR 7 Walker A ride out on the Walker SCR, stopping afterwards for a coffee. Meet outside the Civic Centre at 10:00am.
Sat 13th Sept: Campaign Training Day, Newcastle run by the CTC, including workshops on Space for Cycling and Road Justice campaigns. Register now to secure a place.
Sun 14th – Tues 16th Sept: 11th Annual Cycling & Society Symposium - co-organised by Northumbria University, Newcastle City Council and the Newcastle Cycling Campaign.
Mon 15th Sept: Living Streets Tyneside Area meeting. Contact Colin Green
Weds 17th Sept: Railfuture North East Branch Meeting: 7pm, Brunswick Methodist Church (just by Monument Metro Station). Guest speaker: Graham Jellett on "Light rail in France"
Fri 19th – Sun 21st: Morpeth Weekend Walking Festival
Sat 20th Sun 21st Sept: Two Day Guided Bike Ride with WATBike “Prince Bishops” Starts from Northallerton o/night at Barnard Castle then through Durham ending at Sunderland. Cost £85 pp – required four weeks in advance. Contact Colin tel 01670 522999 mob 07918 075187 email
Thurs 25th Sept Journal Breakfast Debate Transport Links “is our connectivity as good as it could, or should, be?” 7.30am -10.30am Ramside Hall Hotel, Co. Durham Tickets: £25pp, Tables of 10 - £200 incl full English breakfast T: 0191 201 6435 E:
Sat 27th Sept: Civic Cycle Ride: successor to the ‘Big Toon Ride’ - a fun ride starting at the Civic Centre and cycling over the river to Gateshead then back to Newcastle.

Tues 30th Sept: Newcastle Cycling Campaign Members’ Meeting: meet up for a drink and chat in The Trent House from 7pm

Thurs 9th Oct: SMK Workshop 'Introduction To Campaigning' 10:45am-5pm venue (tbc) Middlesbrough.
Sat 11th Oct: NECTAR Exec meeting 10am-12:30pm Brunswick Methodist Church, central Newcastle. All welcome. Contact Peter Walker tel 01642 566396
Sat 18th Sun 19th Oct: Two Day Guided Bike Ride with WATBike “Kielder & beyond” Starting from Corsenside Common Artillery point then around Kielder lakeside, with o/night stay at Bellingham Demesne bunkhouse. Cost £85 pp – required four weeks in advance. Contact Colin tel 01670 522999 mob 07918 075187 email
Weds 3rd Dec: Tyne & Wear Freight Partnership time, venue tbc.  Martin Murphy represents NECTAR at these meetings

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 4th Mar: Tyne & Wear Freight Partnership time, venue tbc.  Martin Murphy represents NECTAR at these meetings
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 The NECTAR Annual Statement 2013-14 is available on request or can be downloaded from our website. It replaces an AGM and should be read in conjunction with the consultation log and the monthly eBulletins. Any questions or volunteers for officer roles within NECTAR should contact Peter Walker
2 The NECTAR Quarterly Report for the period Apr-Jun ’14 is available on request of can be downloaded from our website.
3 Unless further funding is sourced very soon, NECTAR regrets that the (1st) October ’14 issue of this eBulletin will be the last. Around £1200 pa is needed, so any donations or suggestions for further funding would be very welcome. 
4 Peter Walker has drafted and submitted the NECTAR response to the HoC TransCom Inquiry into investment in the railways. It is available on request or downloadable from the NECTAR website
5 NE LEP is receiving £112m Govt funding through the Local Growth Deal package with £258m of supporting funding to develop transport links and boost industries. These are largely in line with proposals in the LEPs Strategic Economic Plan “More & Better Jobs”. Some of the cash will fund a direct underground link from Newcastle Central station to the Stephenson Quarter regeneration site and the refurbishment of Newcastle Central Metro Station. £6.3m has been allocated towards the proposed Western Relief Road in Durham City. The cash will also see new business parks created, including space for firms in the Hitachi Rail supply chain at Merchant Park in County Durham and money to develop land at the former Swans Hunter shipyard, in Wallsend. NETPark, Co Durham gets £8m for expansion and £7.4m is allocated to the Centre for Process Innovation’s proposed £14.4m Centre for Innovation in Formulation.
6 Tees Valley received £23m from the Local Growth Deal plus a £12 million City Deal with a further £22 million worth of supporting programmes.
7 We have received a copy of the Cambs CBT Newsletter – their Issue 118 coincided with our Issue 118
8 Peter Walker attended the HA Northern Environment Liaison Cttee on 19th May. No formal notes have been issued yet, but here are his:

  • Roads expenditure for Yorks and NE combined is £168,817,392. Schemes now include an £8 million modification between the A19 and the A174 (the 'Parkway') in south Middlesbrough. The 'Lobley Hill' scheme is retitled "Coal House to Metro Centre" and enlarged from £1.5m to £6.4m.
  • Thanks to EU activity, the HA now regards Air Quality and Emissions as a "hot topic" [sic!].
  • National Cycling Strategy: cycling on pavements is still a fixed-penalty offence, but ambiguity and confusion over ‘divided pavement areas’
9 Northumberland CC’s letter to DfT (March ’14) expressing concern about the omission of ‘vital current services at Northumberland stations’ from the new ICEC Train Service Requirement is available. (201 Kb PDF)
10 Route Strategies: the process is now (reported 5/14):         
  • discussions with Local Authority/LEP so as to produce Stage 1 of the Strategy (evidence of growth in the next 5 years)
  • "sift" the "package'
  • identify options for solutions (by end Oct ‘14)
  • look for efficiency improvements (mid-Dec ‘14)
  • produce Draft Route Strategy, including areas for growth, by March ‘15.
The HA aim is to produce a 'mile-a-minute' motorway network.
11 The NECTAR consultation log – the record of all responses and submissions made by the group – up to the end of July ’14 can be downloaded from our website.
12 Rail User Groups in the NECTAR area have submitted separate reponses to the  DfT consultation on the specifications for the Northern and TransPennine Express franchises:
SENRUG has asked for i) re-opening of Ashington Blyth and Tyne line, ii) extension of TransPennine Express services on to Cramlington and Morpeth so increasing frequency to half-hourly and providing an evening and Sunday service iii) extension of MetroCentre to Morpeth services with alternate trains running on to Pegswood & Widdrington and Choppington & Bedlington, iv) a feasibility study into a Northumbrian Coast local service running north of Morpeth to Berwick with Beal and Belford stations re-opened
Tyne Valley RUG comments included: i) need to review historic and now obsolete speed restrictions ii) need for improved connections in both Carlisle and Newcastle iii) improved use of staff potential on trains and in booking offices iv) Gilsland station project v) potential for new stations at Sage/Gateshead College and at Peterlee both using existing services
Professional northerner Prof Paul Salvesen’s take on the Northern and TPEx franchises is spelled out in issue 147 of his weekly newsletter:
13 CfBT launched a last minute campaign and petition “Right Track North” for the specification review – getting just under 600 responding through their website. They suggest the Government plans lack ambition and could lead to a decline in services and intend to continue to lobby DfT through the franchise letting process.
14 Following the announcement of the annual rail fare increases, CBfT has launched a petition to abolish evening peak fares on northern rail services, hoping for a policy reversal before the new fares are implemented on 8th Sept.  See
15 The latest SENRUG Newsletter (Aug ’14) #28 (666Kb PDF) is available on request or downloadable from the NECTAR website.
16 Rothbury-based bus company Spirit Buses are due to start operating services from 1st Sept
17 Minutes of the Tyne & Wear Freight Partnership and Railfreight Group are available at The Freight Partnership is actively working on the interaction between cyclists and heavy goods road users. Railfreight Group are actively supporting the Port of Blyth and developing the Ashington Blyth and Tyne railway line.
18 Durham CC’s ‘Local Motion’ project has received £840,000 from the DfT's Local Sustainable Transport Fund to expand in 2015/16. The project aims to make it easier to walk, cycle and use public transport in the south of the county, and the extra money will be used to be extend into Spennymoor, Crook and Willington. Walking routes, cycle paths and bus services will be improved - and jobseekers will be offered a prepaid smartcard to cover travel costs until they receive their first wage packet.
19 Able UK has had the Seaton Channel dredged to improve access to Able Seaton Port on the Tees.
20 Flybe is reinstating daily flights from Newcastle to Exeter as part of its 2014/15 winter schedule.
21 NECTAR understands that Network Rail is waiting on Northumberland CC to sign-off the Grip stages 2 and 3 study for the Ashington-Blyth-Tyne Line, and is concerned about the allocated team standing idle until September.
22 Grand Central Rail will continue operating services between Sunderland and London King's Cross until 2026 after having a 10 year contract extension application approved by ORR.
23 PDFs of powerpoint presentations on the Highways Agency Road Feasibility Studies for the Newcastle-Gateshead Western Bypass (2.76Mb) and the A1 North of Newcastle (3.74 Mb) – both from May ’14 – and of an overview of the Roads Reform (Roads Investment Strategy 2.33Mb) presented to the Highways Agency Northern Environment Liaison Cttee in July are available on request or downloadable from the NECTAR website
24 Addison Motors – who run the Benfield Motors car dealership – made pre-tax profits of £7.4m in the 2013 calendar year, up by 137% on 2012. The group reported a 23% rise in private consumer vehicle registrations and a 26% increase in fleet and business registrations during 2013.
25 The joint venture partners behind Northern Rail, Serco and Abellio, are to make separate bids to take over the franchise. The staffing implications for the ongoing Northern operation are of potential concern. Serco will also bid for the TransPennine Express franchise currently run by First.
The shortlisted bidders are – for Northern: Abellio Northern Ltd (Dutch), Arriva Rail North Limited (German) and Govia Northern Limited (35% French); and for TransPennine Express: First Trans Pennine Express Ltd,    Keolis Go-Ahead Limited (French) and Stagecoach Trans Pennine Express Trains Ltd
26 Scotrail timetable changes may mean that through services into the Tyne
Valley will be discontinued.
27 Tees Valley report an overall growth of 5.8% in rail passenger numbers for the year ended in 4th quarter 2014.
28 A new £2.2m railway station in the Tees Valley has been officially opened by transport minister Baroness Kramer. The James Cook station is located behind the James Cook University Hospital. A consortium involving the Tees Valley Unlimited (TVU) local enterprise partnership, Network Rail, Northern Rail, South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Middlesbrough Council helped to bring the new transport hub to Middlesbrough.

29 Newcastle CC has incorporated its support for cycling into its Transport Development Team headed by Graham Grant doing away with the post of a dedicated Cycling Officer (formerly Anne Clark)
30 18th June – Journal: Metro marks 175th anniversary of ancestor railway line
31 Motorists will soon have to pay a fee to charge electric vehicles at council-owned points in County Durham.
32 Sunderland-based road repair company Velocity is in talks with councils in Hartlepool, Middlesbrough and Sunderland to use its hi-tech road patching machinery after the government announced £168m for UK pothole repairs, with £15m allocated to North East councils.
National & International News
33 UK car production in April 2014 showed the largest monthly rise since July 2012 as full-scale production of new models boosted output at plants nationwide. More than 130,000 vehicles were made in the UK in the period, n increase of 21.3% on March, with year-to-date figures at almost 540,000 – up 6.9%.
34 14th July: The latest round of the Local Sustainable Transport Fund (£64M) has been allocated with North East getting four out of the 41 schemes funded. DfT is linking this funding to the LGF money that has been allocated to transport schemes ‘for growth’ as prioritised by the LEPs.
35 We saw these figures quoted but does anyone know their source? 1980-2013 costs: Motoring -12%, bus & coach fares +59%, rail fares +62%
36 HoC TransCom has published it report on “passenger transport in isolated communities” backing quality bus contracts (as TfL) and noting that not all isolated communities are rural.
37 High speed 3: vision for the North or vanity for Osborne? Ed Cox of ippr North argues the point.
38 HoC TransCom has launched an inquiry into “motoring of the future” which will examine how the UK Government can address developments in motoring technology, notably alternative fuels, safety improvements and driver aids. Deadline for written submissions is 15th Sept. Inquiry page: motoring of the future
39 HoC TransCom has launched an inquiry into “strategic river crossings” looking at the planning, financing and potential regenerative effects of different river crossings in the UK. Deadline for written submissions is 22nd Sept. Inquiry page: Strategic river crossings
40 Transport projects in parts of England outside London have been underfunded in recent years and this "cannot be allowed to continue", says a Transport Committee report.
41 Report: “The Case for Action – economic, social & environmental benefits of sustainable transport”
 “Excess delay is costing our urban economies £11 billion per annum, and carbon emissions impose a cost to society equivalent to up to £4 billion per annum. The costs to the health of our communities are even greater – up to £25 billion per year on the costs of physical inactivity, air quality and noise, and £9 billion on road traffic accidents.” (source - DFT)
42 Sustrans identifies ways in which sustainable transport modes enhance local economies:
  • Reducing congestion
  • Creating more pleasant townscapes which encourages inward investment
  • Increasing workforce productivity and health and reducing costs
  • Creating vibrant places which attract more skilled labour

43 According to CBT, the Infrastructure Bill, proposed in the Queen’s Speech, poses a major challenge to sustainable travel and local democracy by building new institutions to build new roads and motorways directed from Whitehall.
44 Climate change will ‘cost world far more than estimated’
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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