Transport priorities in the North East LEP area /
Edward Twiddy, director of the North East LEP said: “Whether it’s the A1, A19, intercity rail, routes to and from the airport and the ports, the North East LEP is engaged in productive and detailed debate with providers and funders on improving our national and international connectivity. The independent economic review reminded us how important access to international routes is: the LEP is ensuring that these routes are open, growing and getting faster day by day.”
Alongside the creation of a single voice and agency for transport in the North East area, the Adonis Review recommended adopting the following as immediate transport priorities for roads, public transport, air and sea:
*A1 Western By-pass – provide greater capacity and reliability along as much of the route as possible
*A19 – Funding has already been authorised for development of the A19/A1058 Coast Road junction –the other A19 bottlenecks should follow.
* Partners to agree a comprehensive rail strategy for the North East
* Single network smartcard
*Transport strategy for the north east- including a bus and metro strategy
*A new direct flight to a major North American air hub
* Restore the direct ferry link from Norway
Edward Twiddy said: “We are keen to introduce a transatlantic flight which will open up markets in the USA. The market between the North East and North America is strong, but has the potential to grow significantly with direct connections. The North East LEP area local authorities, our LEP and the Airport’s private sector partner are working closely together to help establish a route.
“Our trading and cultural connections to Northern Europe set us apart from many other places, so the LEP is also taking the recommendation to re-establish the sea link for passenger and freight traffic with Norway very seriously.
“Whether for freight or commuting, journey time and reliability improvements along the whole length of the A1 and A19 are very important to us. We have received the good news that government have committed £64m to improve the A1 Western Bypass after the NELEP developed an ask in partnership with Newcastle via their City Deal and we have provided advice to the Highways Agency that has resulted in the area receiving £6m from their Trunk Road Pinch Points Fund to improve the Seaton Burn junction of the A19, but there is still more to do.
“We are therefore working closely with the Highways Agency to identify a number of strategic points on the road network to help unlock housing and development sites in the LEP area and provide better access to the key regional gateway at Newcastle International Airport. In addition we continue to press for further improvements to our key regional road links, for example along the A184 and around our growing manufacturing and export hubs.
“In rail, the North East LEP strongly believes that the re-letting of the Northern franchise provides a unique opportunity to review how regional rail services are planned and operated.
“Managed correctly, devolution of responsibility for regional rail can bring significant benefits. Control at a more local level can help to stimulate the economy and gives the flexibility to specify services that allow residents and businesses an effective and efficient transport network designed to better suit the needs of a locality. The future of the East Coast franchise is another key debate that our political and business leaders are firmly engaged in.”