Transport is the key to business movement


CAMPAIGNERS are calling for the North East to be given improved transport links in its battle to grow.

This is the only area of the country with a positive balance of trade, thanks to its world class export businesses.

But officials behind the NEvolution project - which calls for more power for the region in areas such as skills, transport and funding - say further growth will only be possible with the right backing in key areas.

Critical to the ongoing success of the area is the development of strong connections to key markets in the UK and overseas – and this means investment in transport

links that can spur on further growth, they add.

A spokesman for NEvolution said: “Road links are the key part of the transport mix. Around 88 per cent of traffic (people and freight) in the UK travels by road – it is fundamental therefore, that we have excellent road infrastructure to support businesses based here.”

They highlighted bottlenecks on the A19 and A1 as proof that more needs to be done for better links to and from the area.

They highlighted Wynyard as one of those areas needing investment.

But they highlighted other areas where investment could make a massive difference.

• Ports play a key role in the export of goods from the area and should be “intrinsically linked to the region’s wider transport network.”

• The region’s airports also have a crucial role in connecting passengers and freights with international markets, say campaigners. They have called for a revision of the Government’s approach to Air Passenger Duty (APD).

• The calibre of the area’s rail infrastructure will be a major factor in the area’s ability to fulfil its potential, they added.

The spokesman said: “The North East should be properly linked to High Speed 2 at the earliest opportunity and investment should be made to achieve maximum compatibility of conventional line and high speed services.

“It has been estimated that high speed rail could result in a £3.1bn productivity increase for the North East, with almost 60 per cent of the productivity benefits forecast resulting from improved connections to other UK centres outside London, including South Yorkshire, the East Midlands and Birmingham.”