North East Combined Transport Activists’ Roundtable
Information Bulletin  Issue 117      May 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.

Grovelling apologies for the horrendous delay in producing this month's eBulletin - but at least it is extra-long!
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
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
Mon 19th May: Highways Agency Northern Area Environmental Consultative Committee, Manchester. Peter Walker attends these meetings on behalf of NECTAR
19th – 23rd May Walk to School Week
Sat 24th May: Historic Jesmond on foot – A two-hour tour of the houses with historic plaques in old Jesmond. Meet 2pm at Jesmond Metro station. Living Streets & Jesmond Residents’ Association. Part of the Jesmond Festival.
Sun 25th May: Tour de Jesmond – historic Jesmond by bike. Meet 2pm at Bandstand in Exhibition Park. Contact Tony Waterston
Tues 27th May: Newcastle Cycling Campaign Committee 17:00-19:00
Members’ Meeting 19:00-21:00pm The Trent House, 1-2 Leazes Lane, NE1 4QT
Weds 28th May Newcastle City Futures: Citywide Planning Methods for Sustainable Transport with Katja Leyendecker 6pm Guildhall, Quayside, NE1 3AF - one of a series of talks organised by Newcastle Uni School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape
Sat 31st May: North East premiere of ‘Pantani: The Accidental Death of a Cyclist’ at the Cycle Hub
Weds 4th Jun: Tyne & Wear Freight Partnership 10:30am Gateshead Civic Centre.  Martin Murphy represents NECTAR at these meetings
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.
Fri 13th – Sun 15th Jun: Friends of the Earth's Basecamp, Castleton, Derbyshire for people who are interested on campaigning on roads to meet up and share ideas / info / etc. CfBT will be running two road campaigner workshops on the Saturday. Costs are £15 for a day ticket (incl food) or £35 for a camping ticket to attend all three days (or there are hostels and B&B options which cost more).  Book online at
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 14th Jun: Infra safaris (scouting Newcastle's Strategic Cycle Routes): SCR 4 Gosforth
Sun 15th – Mon 16th Jun: WATBike Two Day Cycle Ride “Roman Invasion & South Tyne Railway” This two day trip will cost £85 per person which includes all transport, guidance, support, accommodation, evening meal and breakfast at the Youth Hostel. You will only require your lunch, plus drinks money. Full payment is required 4 weeks before the date of trip. Contact Colin 01670 522999 Mob 07918 075187 Email:
Sat 21st Jun: NECTAR Exec, Brunswick Methodist Church, central Newcastle. All welcome. Contact Peter 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 Jun: 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
Fr 4th – Sun 6th July: Yorkshire Festival of Cycling, Harewood House, Leeds coinciding with the ceremonial start of the Tour de France  Tickets £8 per day (children under 12 free) plus camping from £2 per person per night. See
Sat 12th Jul: Infra safaris (scouting Newcastle's Strategic Cycle Routes): SCR 1 Newburn
Sat 2nd Aug: Sky Ride in Newcastle – watch website for more details If you want to create your own cycle rides and join with like-minded cyclists check out Ride Social & Breeze Rides which are led by women for women.
Sat 9th Aug: Infra safaris (scouting Newcastle's Strategic Cycle Routes): SCR 6 Benfield
Sat 9th Aug: 2014 St Cuthbert's Way Challenge Walk This 19.5 mile cross border challenge takes in the best section of St Cuthbert’s Way as you start walking in Scotland and finish in England. Register now
Weds 3rd Sept: Tyne & Wear Freight Partnership time, venue tbc.  Martin Murphy represents NECTAR at these meetings
Fri 5th Sept: Newcastle Cycling Forum
Weds 10th Sept: Hartlepool Transport Champions (Council-led community scrutiny network) “Road Network” 3:30pm-5pm Hartlepool Civic Centre
Sat 13th Sept: Infra safaris (scouting Newcastle's Strategic Cycle Routes): SCR 7 Walker
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 Highways Agency has published the final scoping studies for its Route Feasibility Studies including A1 Newcastle-Gateshead Bypass and A1 North of Newcastle, which are posted on the NECTAR website ( What is proposed seems to be a review of previous studies carried out in pretty short order (completion of the studies in the autumn). Changes from the original draft scoping reports are:
A1 Newcastle-Gateshead Western Bypass: Aims and Objectives – added “need to consider future priority problems”. Study reference group of ten with
A1 North of Newcastle: includes new wording “we will liaise with the Scottish Government to discuss the interrelationship between the work conducted as part of this feasibility study and any work to consider the case for dualling the A1 north of the border”; modal scope altered “It will also need to understand any improvements planned to the surrounding strategic road network and surrounding transport systems, including local road and rail networks”. Study reference group of eight including both Sir Alan Beith MP and the Campaign to Dual the A1, with the only NGO being the NE Wildlife Trusts. Contact for the studies is Tim Lawson
2 These follow on from publication of Route Strategy Evidence Reports which identified performance issues on routes and anticipated future challenges, took account of asset condition and operational requirements, and local growth priorities. 
3 The hearings for the Newcastle-Gateshead joint Core Strategy Examination run from 3rd June till 3rd July at Gateshead Civic Centre and are open to the public. The Transport session is scheduled for Thursday 12th June. NECTAR understands that TWPTUG will be participating.
4 Newcastle Cycling Campaign’s motto for 2014-15 is “Shifting Up A Gear” [I expect we’ll find out what they mean by that in due course, Ed] The big campaign – a national one – is space4cycling – starting with an intensive pre-election campaign writing to local councillors
5 Reps from Coastliners and Saltburn Line Users Group (SLUG) met Northern Rail managers 7th April to discuss revised timetable patterns in the North-East arising from changes to TransPennine timetables. Full notes by Peter Walker are available, but the discussion covered:

  • The last weekday Middlesbrough-Newcastle to leave to 21:10 to meet 18.57 TransPennine from Manchester at Thornaby from December timetable change.
  • Retiming Carlisle-Newcastle services alongside Hexham-Middlesbrough services very unlikely
  • Ways to address the hour gap in the mornings on the Saltburn line mainly due to the 07.20 Darlington-Nunthorpe-Middlesbrough would be investigated.
  • Options for improved rail-bus connections at Saltburn need to be investigated.
  • Possibilities for increasing frequency of Sunday services on Durham Coast line were being examined.
  • James Cook Halt station is due to open this month (May), funding for Horden/Peterlee station is firmly in place
  • A direct York-Stockton-Sunderland 'all stations' service should perhaps be included in the next Northern Rail franchise to provide a\n alternative for road traffic on the A19
6 Nexus is to close three of the nine Travelshops - Four Lane Ends Interchange, Heworth Interchange and Monument station – in October due to dwindling sales. In-shop ticket sales have fallen now that a full range of Metro and network one are available new ticket machines, however tickets are on sale in 200 shops online sales will be launched later this year.
7 Snapshot survey shows pedestrians taking their lives in their hands at Newcastle's crash blackspots (or do the vehicles need to be better managed?)
8 Nineteen infrastructure [is that just roadbuilding? Ed] projects in the North East including improvements to the Sunderland strategic junction, the refurbishment of Ovingham Bridge and widening work to the A1 Lobley Hill will start this financial year as part of a £36bn national investment by the government.
9 Boro Taxis has recently spent more than £400k upgrading its fleet and plans to invest a further £600k on new vehicles during the next 12 months. Bringing total fleet to around 700 vehicles
10 Tourists will be spending £347 million a year in the North East by 2017 according to Barclay’s latest “Tourism Dynamics” report – an increase of 76% from 2013 figures.
11 Newcastle Cycle City Ambition Fund Stakeholder Group – see
12 This eBulletin used to glean nuggets of information from Paul Salvesen’s weekly e-newsletter “The Salvo”. However, the learned professor has gone all hi tech and is now just circulating a link rather than the full text. Keen readers might like to see and subsequent issues for themselves.
13 Tyne & Wear Go Smarter is an integrated programme of walking, cycling and public transport initiatives in the conurbation providing commuters and pupils and parents going to school with alternatives to car use. See to see if your workplace or school can benefit.
14 Rail User Group reps and other attended a presentation and discussion hosted by Keolis/Eurostar re: the ECML franchise on 11th April. Informal personal notes of the meeting are available though much of the discussion was labelled as ‘confidential’. Participants were given an email address for more info.
15 SENRUG has raised concerns with the DfT that the new ECML franchise agreement does not have enough guarantees written into it for services from Morpeth, Alnmouth and Berwick for when the franchise starts in March 2015, particularly referring to early morning services connecting with the Flying Scotsman service at Newcastle.
16 John Wylde writing on the funding quandary for councils running rural bus services with reference to Northumberland and Cumbria:
17 A new container service from the Port of Tyne to St Petersburg will start shortly. Two vessels operated by Danish firm Seago Line will run an eight-day service, which is expected to increase container exports from Port of Tyne by 50%.
18 NELEP is preparing a scoping report for SEA of the North East Strategic Economic Plan. The consultation period for the report is open until 17 June 2014. See
19 Ali Litherland – Sustrans FEAT 1st Officer for Gateshead – working to promote greener, healthier travel to school “If children could choose the school run would look like this!”
20 Evidently, a useful course on cycling infrastructure was hosted by Durham CC on 12th and 19th May primarily aimed at council officers and what they can do to make cycling safer, including various proposals for changes in Road Traffic legislation so that such schemes may be easier to implement administratively in the future. Participants included both planners and highway engineers from Durham CC and officers from Newcastle CC. NECTAR would appreciate more information on this if available.
21 Durham Tees Valley Airport has published the final draft of its Master Plan through to 2020 and beyond which includes:
  • making the airport a cargo destination with special facilities for air freight, including a freight siding to the Tees Valley railway line
  • providing fire training, aircraft dismantling and maintenance and repair services.
  • a development including office buildings, between 250-400 residential houses, and extension to the on-site St George’s Hotel.
22 The chair of Newcastle Cycling Campaign in a personal capacity, responding to a request for a contribution to a political party’s manifesto:
“At present, most people don’t cycle because of the often inhospitable road conditions, including infrastructure that allows rather than mitigates aggressive driving behaviour and the routine blocking of many cycle lanes by parked cars. And that is what must change. So there must be urgent and widespread action to create better road conditions to make cycling viable and accessible to new people, road space to be set aside for cycling and safe junctions to be built. The city deserves to reap the many benefits that a ‘Cycle City’ will bring: healthier lifestyles, cleaner air, quieter roads, calmer, more people-friendly environments, and better connectivity of neighbourhoods, not to forget real economic savings and socio-economic gains for both the individual and the public purse.”
23 Durham Tees Valley Airport is building a new hangar for the national Police Air Service (NPAS) Eurocopter EC135 aircraft.
24 Footpath along some 91km of coastline - a 36km stretch between Allonby and Whitehaven and a 55km stretch between North Gare, Hartlepool, and South Bents, Sunderland – was opened in April extending the England Coast Path project.
25 Northumberland CC’s plans to introducing charging for post-16 school travel is meeting fierce opposition including this petition: However following Sir Alan Beith raising the “grossly unfair” allocation of school transport funding provided to Northumberland compared with other parts of the UK in Parliament, the government has proposed an additional £10.6 million funding for Northumberland’s schools, equivalent of an extra £270 per pupil.
26 Newcastle Airport is to spend £14M on refurbishing its departure lounge
27 The government has confirmed funding for the £2.7bn contract to build train carriages at Hitachi Rail Europe's Newton Aycliffe plant. The trains are due to start running on the ECML in 2018 as part of the government's £5.7bn Intercity Express Programme.
28 A YouTube montage of WATBike activities 2013:
29 Hitachi reports that says it will move its global rail business from Japan to the UK, expanding from current 2,500 workers to 4,000.
30 The Port of Sunderland is looking to extend its European network after recording an increase in ship tonnage in the past 12 months.
31 Eleven North East businesses (eight of them in Tees Valley) have been awarded a total of £301m in the 5th round of the Regional Growth Fund (RGF). The winning bidders in the region are: Cleveland Potash Limited, Cummins Ltd, Fine Industries Ltd, Gestamp Tallent Ltd, Huntsman Polyurethanes (UK) Ltd, Hydram Engineering Ltd, JDR Cable Systems Ltd, Johnson Matthey Davy Technologies Ltd, The Trinity Mirror Group, BE Group and UNW LLP funding collaboration, “Let’s Grow in the North East”, Tinsley Special Products Ltd and TRW Systems Ltd
32 Dan Sheppard, based in Leeds, now covers the North East and Yorkshire & Humber area for Sustrans and will attend NECTAR Executive meetings when available.  Jack Warren, formerly active in T2000 Teesside is joining the NECTAR Executive to improve representation from the Tees Valley.
33 NIReS has changed its name to ‘the Institute for Sustainability’ with a new website Not sure if they’ve dropped the great strapline “Enough for everyone, forever
NECTAR consultation responses currently in preparation
Subject By Deadline Lead
Rail Franchises DfT   Malcolm Chainey
SubRegional Economic Strategy NE LEP awaited  

National & International News
34 Centre for Cities has produced a report “Delivering Change: making transport work in cities” which sets out practical policy solutions to help city regions improve local transport and economic growth. A Transport for London-style model offers the power and control that would help city regions to coordinate transport services most appropriate to people’s day-to-day travel. The 6.6 Mb PDF Full Report is available.
35 HoC TransCom has published two reports “Better Roads: Improving England’s Strategic Road Network” (479 Kb PDF available) and “National Policy Statement on National Networks” (599 Kb PDF available)
36 Public Health England has published statistics estimating that across the UK, 25,002 people died because of air pollution in 2010.
37 Following on from HoC TransCom Inquiry into Local Authority Parking Enforcement, Living Streets are lobbying for MPs to come forward to adopt a Private Member’s Bill addressing pavement parking in the next Members’ Ballot over the summer.
38 The three main rail unions RMT, ASLEF and TSSA have applied for a judicial review of the Government’s proposed refranchising of ECML after successful direct operation of the line through East Coast. Virgin Rail, First Group, and a joint venture of SNCF subsidiaries Keolis and Eurostar, are all hoping to become the successful franchisee in 2015.
39 From Motoring magazine - Cyclists! Why do they ride in the middle of the road?
40 Arriva's acquisition of Huddersfield Bus Company (Centrebus (Holdings) Ltd) has been approved by the Competition and Markets Authority.
41 DfT appealed for feedback on people’s experience of the planning, performance and response of the transport network to severe weather events and are now digesting the responses:
42 CBfT are asking activists to lobby MPs on rural bus services to try to influence General Election 2015 manifestoes.
43 Our sister organisation down south in Yorkshire - YHTAR - has set up a new website, managed by Antony Rae at
44 The Welsh Assembly Government has awarded The Vale of Glamorgan and Ceredigion councils £100,000 to try new ways to co-ordinate bus and community transport services in rural areas. The yearlong trial will also look at using council vehicles to help people access health and social care.
45 Road User Levy introduced in April is based on time/weight/axle configuration. The majority of HGV operators will not be paying more than they do now, and VOSA (soon to be Drivers & Vehicles Standards Agency DVSA) has a publicly available portal to check that foreign registration plates are paid up.
46 A joint project to be carried out by DEFRA and DCLG starting in June will review evidence for the additional unavoidable costs of rural service delivery. The research will identify costs and cost drivers for rural service delivery and attribute the unit costs of local authority services as accurately as possible.
47 The (HGV) Drivers Certificate of Professional Competency (DCPC) becomes effective from September 2014. There will be fixed penalties for those found not to be carrying CPC cards.
48 Oxford University research has shown that rising temperatures mean intense rainfall now one in 80-year event rather than one in 100-year.
49 Through the new Advanced Propulsion Centre - Ford, GKN, Cummins and JCB will receive a share in £133M to improve fuel efficiency and reduce carbon emissions in buses and diggers using technology originally developed in F1 racing.
50 Pedal on Parliament is a campaign group seeking better recognition of the needs of cyclists on Scottish roads – specifically: proper funding for cycling; design cycling into Scotland’s roads; slower speeds where people live, work and play; integrate cycling into local transport strategies; improved road traffic law and enforcement; reduce the risk of HGVs to cyclists and pedestrians; a strategic and joined-up programme of road user training; improved statistics supporting decision-making and policy
51 Network Rail is to introduce a scheme which will reduce ‘total bonus opportunity’ from 160% of salary per year to a maximum of 20%. Under the new scheme bonuses will only be awarded if targets are beaten and will be deferred for three years, to ensure improvements are long-term.
52 The Cycle Hub team is looking for staff to work in the cafe and the workshop. For both roles they are looking for people who are friendly and love cycling. Contact the Hub at with your CV.
53 A Team Valley-based modular construction firm is hoping to secure a slice of the corporate market with what is believed to be the UK’s first moveable shower and changing hub for commuter cyclists and runners.
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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