Today the consultation window opens to give people across the North East a chance to talk about the future of transport throughout the region.
The North East Combined Authority (neca) is setting the wheels in motion for plans to launch a 20-year ‘Transport Manifesto’ that covers both ‘urban and rural’ geographic areas of Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Sunderland.
The manifesto ‘Our Journey’ will feed into the local transport plan for the combined authority area and will set out how neca intends to deliver on its ambition to promote affordable, attractive, reliable, safe, healthy transport choices for businesses, residents and visitors.
If you’ve ever been on a journey using local transport and said to yourself “I should really mention this to someone” – whether it be good or bad, then now is your chance.
The outcome of the manifesto will be beneficial to residents, businesses and visitors to the North East as transport is a vital commodity that keeps the region moving.
The consultation will look at a variety of transport options including road, rail, air and sea.
The North East Combined Authority area ‘Transport Facts’ at a glance:
• Covers 3,200 square miles of urban and rural communities
• 2 million residents
• 4.1 million visitors a year
• 200,000 people commuting into urban centres
• 38,000 small and medium-sized enterprises
• The largest car plant in the UK by far
Newcastle City Councillor Nick Forbes, Chair of the Transport North East Committee, said: “The aim of this Transport Manifesto is to put passengers at the heart of the North East’s transport network.
“Across the region, people rightly demand a transport system that works for them, that is reliable, easy to use and affordable. Now is your chance to ensure you have a say over how we tackle the issues holding us back as a region.
“For the first time in many decades the region is coming together, as Transport North East, to set a vision. But it is not up to politicians to decide on our transport priorities; the vision of the region has to be one we all contribute to. This document will guide our way for the next two decades, from everything to our approach to Metro ticket prices to which major roads we seek to upgrade.
“It is the passengers, the motorists, the cyclists and other transport users who will shape this region, and their feedback on this manifesto is vital.”
The Transport Manifesto will help to empower the region and reinforce its position of being a national and international force. It will allow the subject of transport to underline its importance in areas such as economic growth, the environment and health.
Durham County Cllr Neil Foster, vice chair of Transport North East Committee, said: “Having efficient and reliable transport systems in place is a crucial part of our drive for economic growth.
“We need to ensure that residents in both urban and rural areas, whether they travel by car, use public transport or cycle, can access services, leisure, jobs and training opportunities.
“Businesses – including those which are already based in the North East and those thinking of investing here – need to be able to have confidence in the transport networks within our region and those which connect us to national and international markets.
“We want people’s views on these important transport plans which will help to shape our region over the next 20 years.”
Another valuable feature of the Transport Manifesto is the opportunity to discuss and raise the public profile of ‘Sustainable Travel’ that helps to reduce carbon emissions into the environment and minimise local air pollution. Sustainable Travel represents areas of transport like walking, cycling, public transport, car sharing and taxis – where people use leg and lung power or join others on their travels.
Northumberland County Councillor Allan Hepple, vice chair of Transport North East Committee, said: “It’s important people take this opportunity to put their views forward.
“As a largely rural county, many residents and visitors will have first-hand experience of the difficulties that can be faced in travelling between areas using public transport.
“If we are to develop the infrastructure and grow the economy of this region it’s vital the right transport options are in place. This consultation is a great opportunity for people to have their say on future plans.”
North Tyneside Councillor John Harrison, vice chair of Transport North East Committee, said: “We strongly believe that by working together to get the correct transport infrastructure in place, the region’s economy will be in a great position to prosper.
“It is important that residents and visitors to the North East are able to rely on good transport and this manifesto is a significant step forward towards reaching our goal.
“This is an excellent opportunity for the public to shape transport in the region and I would encourage as many people as possible to have their say on the manifesto before the deadline on April 8.”
Whether you use transport for the school run, getting to work, visiting friends, going shopping, moving goods or exploring the region – the manifesto team would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions.
The best way to cast your vote or send in your views is by visiting the NECA website www.northeastca.gov.uk/transport-north-east-and-transport-manifesto or by contacting 0191 277 1156 for a hard copy to be posted out to you.
The closing date for responses is Friday 8th April 2016.