NECTAR eBulletin 114 - Feb '14
North East Combined Transport Activists’ Roundtable
Information Bulletin  Issue 114      February 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
Thurs 12th Feb:  National Infrastructure Planning Association (NIPA) hosted stakeholder event on draft National Networks National Policy Statement 8:30-10:30am at Transport for Greater Manchester, 2 Piccadilly Place, Manchester, M1 3BG (nearest venue to North East!). Contact Sharon Bassom, Peter Brett Associates, 0118 520303,
Fri 28th Feb: Cycling & Buses Event: Tom Dodds, Go Ahead NE, and Rob Owens cycling campaigner. Cycle awareness at Bus Driver Training School plus demo bus trip for cyclists around particular ‘black spots’ Contact Tom Dodds for more info.
Sat 1st Mar:  Railfuture North East Branch AGM 2pm, Newcastle Art Centre, 67 Westgate Road, NE1 1SG (just five minutes’ walk from Central Station).
Guest speaker: Simon Walton (Campaign for Borders Rail) who will outline progress on the reconstruction of the line from Newcraighall (Edinburgh) to Tweedbank. Light refreshments. All welcome.

Thurs 6th Mar: Newcastle Cycling Forum

Sat 8th Mar: NECTAR Exec meeting 10am – 12:30pm Brunswick Methodist Church, central Newcastle. All welcome. Contact Peter Walker for info.
Weds 11th Mar: Tyne & Wear Freight Partnership meeting, 10:30am South Shields Town Hall. Martin Murphy represents NECTAR at these meetings. Contact John Bourn for more information.

Sun 16th Mon 17th Mar: Two day guided bike ride “Trot to Tarset through the Land of the Reivers” This is a fully supported ride. Bus and trailer will transfer group and bikes to the start point at Whalton for approx 10am. It will pass through some stunning scenery via Bolam, Angertons, Harwood, Elsdon. Continuing into Reivers territory along the route 68, Corsenside Common, Hareshawhead, and Greenhaugh, to finish day one at Tarset Tor, close to Bellingham. Day two starts heading towards Bellingham and a good climb through Redesmouth on the route 10, with stop for lunch at Matfen. Then south to Newton Hall, Bywell, and down to the Tyne. The ride will finish at the Boathouse at Wylam. Cost £85 Contact Colin on 01670 522999 07918 075187 or
Mon 17th Mar: “Cities as Complex Systems – Towards a Structural View on Climate Change Challenges” at Newcastle Univ with Diego Rybski, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. NIReS Seminar – for info
Fri 21st Mar: Transport Future Events: “The Role of Digital Technologies in Future Transport Systems” 10am Imperial College, London This workshop will bring together sector specialists, industry experts, policy-makers, researchers and the private-sector to exchange ideas in key areas that could be disrupted by advances in digital technology. Keynote speaker Professor John Polak, Professor of Transport Demand and Head of the Centre for Transport Studies at Imperial College London will be joined by speakers form Transport for London, London School of Economics and the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford, Northumbria and Leeds. Register through for info contact tel 0207 594 6416

Tues 25th Mar Newcastle Cycling Campaign AGM 2014 and Quarterly Members Meeting 6pm at The Cycle Hub. All are welcome!
Sun 27th Apr: Stockton Borough Council in partnership with Trihard are holding the Stockton Duathlon Festival

Weds 14th May: Hartlepool Transport Champions (Council-led community scrutiny network) “Cycling Initiatives” 3:30pm-5pm Hartlepool Civic Centre
Thurs 5th Jun: Newcastle Cycling Forum
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 This eBulletin costs around £1100 a year to produce (hosting, labour costs, postage for the few hard copies sent out). It currently goes out to 97 subscribers. NECTAR needs more funds to keep it going:
  • would you subscribers be prepared to pay for the eBulletin?
  • would NECTAR be able to maintain its independence if it accepted sponsorship or a corporate donation?
  • can anyone point us towards likely grantfunding or other no-strings funding?
NECTAR Exec intends to discuss this at our next meeting on 8th Mar and we would appreciate comments before then.
2 Arising from the Government “Acting on Roads” investment programme, DfT has set up a series of consultations on feasibility studies for various key locations – including in our region: the A1 North of Newcastle, the Newcastle-Gateshead A1 Western Bypass, and the (outside the region, but relevant) TransPennine routes south of Leeds. Unfortunately DfT only publicised the stakeholder workshop dates for these studies with a week’s notice and no invitations went to transport campaigning groups. CBfT, CPRE and other national transport NGOs are lobbying hard on this inadequacy. Meanwhile, if anyone did attend the consultation event on A1 North of Newcastle & the Western Bypass in Newcastle Civic Centre on 28th Jan would they be willing to share with other eBulletin readers. The strategic synopses for these studies are available as PDF files.

3 DfT distinguishes between these feasibility strategies and the Route-based Strategies: ‘the former is DfT led (announced in CSR), the latter [Highways Agency] led; Feasibility Studies tended to be more targeted, more locally focused in their scope, in effect sub-sets of wider RBS – in terms of process, the RBS will feed into the Feasibility Studies, HA and DfT will need to ensure the conclusions of both reflect an integrated whole.’ So that’s clear. There are serious concerns that non-roadbuilding solutions will be excluded both in terms of ringfenced funding, remit of the studies and timescale for delivery. [The answer is a road – now what was the question? Ed]
4 However, Chris Todd <> – the new roads campaigner at CBfT – has contacted NECTAR asking if we have anyone wanting to develop ‘an A1 alliance / network to do publicity / campaigning on the proposed road upgrades around Newcastle and to coordinate activity around DfT's corridor feasibility studies’.  Could anyone interested contact Nic Best in the first instance – apparently a small amount of money may be available from CBfT for this campaigning.
5 NECTAR is expecting TWITA to make a decision on whether to go forward with a QCS for Tyne & Wear bus services in late March or early April. We understand that the West Yorkshire PTA is waiting on the TWITA decision before progressing their similar plans.
6 Dan Sheppard ( has recently joined Sustrans in the role of Development Manager for the North East and Yorkshire & Humber. His role focuses on building productive relationships in the region and influencing decision makers all in terms of promoting the multiple positive benefits arising from increasing levels of sustainable transport use. Please feel free to contact Dan to introduce yourself and he looks forward to working closely with NECTAR in the future including (we hope!) attending the NECTAR Exec meeting on 8th March.
7 NECTAR’s response to the CLG consultation on the proposed ‘North Eastern’ Combined Authority generally supports the concept because it would be able to provide for the natural transport flows across the local authority boundaries more effectively.
8 Rather old news – but for the record – the three companies shortlisted for East Coast franchise are East Coast Trains (run by First Group); Keolis/Eurostar East Coast (run by Keolis (UK) and Eurostar International); and Inter City Railways (run by Stagecoach Transport Holdings and Virgin Holdings).
9 The NECTAR consultation log has been updated to January 2014 and is downloadable from the website

10 Production of the latest Qashqai model has started at Nissan’s Sunderland plant. Designed, engineered and manufactured in the UK, the latest Qashqai will be built on Sunderland’s Line 1, which has been running 24-hour operations since 2010 to meet demand. More than 7,000 workers at the plant will work on production of the model.

11 North Eastern LEP has published their draft Economic Strategy “Agenda for Growth” intended to be the implementation plan for the Adonis Report recommendations. Tony Walker will be drafting a NECTAR response – deadline 24th Feb. “North East businesses urged to have their say on regional strategy”
12 bmi regional is launching twice-a-day flights between Newcastle and Brussels from March 3rd with promises that it will bring tourists into the region.
13 GNER is preparing an application to ORR to operate higher speed services between Edinburgh, Newcastle and Kings Cross using Pendolino or similar trains was noted.  A non-stop journey time of 2h29 between Newcastle and Kings Cross was being mooted. Consultations are about to start in preparation for an application to the ORR and operation from December 2016. 
14 Siemens has unveiled its new Class 700 train to be used on the refurbished Thameslink line. The scheme is expected to create 8,000 jobs, 300 of which could be at the Siemen’s factory in Hebburn.

15 Bus operator Go North East has opened an £8.5 million "super depot" on Gateshead riverside. The 3,500 sq m depot will accommodate 160 buses with more than 500 drivers and engineering staff based there. The new facility replaces depots at Sunderland Road in Gateshead and Winlaton that date back to the days of the tramways.
16 Red Route Proposals for Newcastle: Two red routes - Gosforth High Street and Central Station – are being considered for a trial period of 6-8 weeks.  In effect, this would mean that an offence would occur as soon as wheels of the vehicle had stopped turning on these stretches of road. 
17 A total of 17 bids valued at a total net £97.6M have been submitted to Regional Growth Fund (RGF) Round 5 from businesses and organisations in the North East, 15% of the total 133 bids submitted nationally. Results of the bidding process will be announced in the spring.

18 Newcastle Cycling Forum has been collecting information on cycling events and activities towards a bid to DfT for up to £1m of revenue funding to support cycling and walking activities for a year.
19 Nissan production at Sunderland produced a record 504,696 vehicles in year ending March ’13 up 2.7% from the previous year. Turnover decreased from £5Bn to £4.9Bn and net losses fell from £13.9M in 2012 to £903k in 2013.
20 Malcolm Chainey is drafting a NECTAR response to the DfT consultation on the Road & Rail Networks National Planning Statement (NPS), with an eye to the HoC TransCom Inquiry into the same NPS – and drawing mainly on CBfT’s concerns. Malcolm would welcome (very prompt!) contributions to this response. The draft response includes:
  • The proposal to increase road space dramatically, forecasting traffic growth of 40% by 2040 though national statistics show traffic is now lower than it was ten years ago.         
  • Weakened protection for biodiversity, wildlife sites, habitats, ancient woods and landscapes set against perceived but unevidenced ‘national need' for road capacity.         
  • Failure to accept impact on carbon emissions and climate change as material considerations, even though the Committee on Climate Change is relying on at least a 5% reduction in traffic through demand management measures to meet national carbon emission targets.         
  • The rail network should offer fast journeys to places other than London and Edinburgh and be well integrated with local rail services, buses, walking and cycling.

21 The NECTAR response, drafted by Martin Murphy, to the Northumberland Coast AONB draft Management Plan (Part II) has been submitted and is available (54Kb Word file).
NECTAR consultation responses currently in preparation
Subject by Deadline Lead
NE Economic Strategy “Agenda for Growth” NE LEP 24th Feb Tony Walker
NPS Road & Rail Networks DfT 26th Feb Malcolm Chainey
Rail Franchises DfT   Malcolm Chainey
SubRegional Economic Strategy NE LEP awaited  
National & International News
22 EasyJet expect to make losses of £70-90M in the first half of the year. The firm blamed a "challenging environment" which included a lull in demand following the peak of last year’s Olympics, and flight restrictions to Egypt. It also said the later timing of Easter this year meant trading over the bank holiday would fall into its second half results.
23 HoC TransCom has launched an inquiry into the Government’s draft National Policy Statement (NPS) on National Networks. Deadline for comments on 26th Feb. The remit of the Inquiry concentrates on proven need, integration with Government transport policy, coverage of environmental, sustainability and new technology issues – and effectiveness in informing SoS planning decisions.
24 The Rural Services Network is establishing a rural sounding board made up of over 100 councillors – one from each member authority. As well as being a Special Interest Group of the Local Government Association (LGA), the Network is one only two organisations remaining who cover rural areas and their activities across England. The Network is also keen to establish topic specific groups of councillors with a special interest in one of three over-arching topics: Fuel Poverty, Rural Transport and Broadband Interested councillors should complete the form
25 The Government has submitted an application to the European Commission (EC) for the 17 further rural areas to receive a discount of up to 5 pence per litre (ppl) in fuel duty. The postcode-defined areas include NE48 (Hexham). The UK now needs to secure approval for the expanded scheme from the EC. A final decision on the areas in the scheme and the price discount is expected from the EC later this year. Criteria include:
  • High pump prices
  • Over 100 miles by road from the nearest refinery.
  • Population density of less than 135 people per km2.
26 Comment on bus service cuts from Paul Salvesen: “Some of the creativity that has gone into community rail needs to be applied to bus services, with the remit of at least some community rail partnerships extended into bus operations. It’s time to take some risks and look at integrating bus and rail services in rural areas so we can get them working as a single network.”

27 HoC TransCom has launched an inquiry into security on the railway covering crime and perceptions of crime on the railway and how these can be reduced [but excluding daylight robbery by ToCs in setting fares, Ed] Deadline for comments 7th March.

28 David Prout, Director-General of HS2,  has insisted that even though his new railway line will not reach Newcastle and the North East, the economic benefits it could be bring are simply too vital to ignore.

29 The Government's £10m prize for a town or city to develop as a test site for driverless cars has prompted Daventry District Council to consider bidding.
30 Proton Power Systems has secured road approval from the German authorities for its HyRange (fuel cell/battery hybrid) System for buses and light duty vehicles. The HyRange system was fitted to a 7.5 ton to 12 ton electric truck for testing in the country, over 24 months. Germany currently has 15 hydrogen fuelling stations in operation and plans to expand the network to 100 stations by the end of 2018 and 400 stations by 2023.
31 An interesting selection of unconventional London Underground

32 Centre for Cities has published the 2014 edition of their annual “Cities Outlook” report with a special focus is on London and its relationship to other cities.
33 The next round of the Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF) worth £78.5M was launched on 23rd Dec. As before the fund is open English local transport authorities outside London to bid for revenue funding up to £1 million to support the a range of sustainable travel measures. Deadline is 31st Mar and funding must be spent Apr ’15 – Mar ’16.

34 Recyke y@bike have started a special Bike of the Month offer to highlight some of the top quality bikes they have for sale.

35 Could sparkling glow-in-the-dark pavement replace street lights? Starpath is a sprayable coating of light-absorbing particles that harvests ultra-violet rays from the sun during the day and dramatically lights up like a starry sky at night. It is non-reflective, anti-slip and waterproof, and can be applied to cement, wood, tarmac or other solid surfaces.

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.
Copyright © 2014 NECTAR, All rights reserved.
Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp