11 December 2019| | 2 min read
Consultation findings show greater support for revised clean air plans
Final plans for improving air quality on Tyneside will take into account more than 23,000 responses from people and organisations across the North East.
Councils developing the proposals, in Newcastle, Gateshead and North Tyneside, have carried out two consultations on potential measures during 2019 and the findings from both have been used to determine the final plans that will be submitted to government shortly.
During the second stage of the consultation process, people were asked to give their views on a package of measures that had been developed in response to the extensive feedback from the first consultation.
The latest findings showed a greater level of support for the revised Clean Air Zone proposals, widespread agreement from those who took part with the planned support measures as well as strong calls for improvements to public transport networks.
Proposals to change the road layout and introduce lane restrictions on the Tyne Bridge and Central Motorway prompted some concerns about the potential impact on congestion although the majority of people affected said they would change their route or travel a different way.
Although delivery hubs had broader general support they were less popular with those drivers who frequently deliver goods into the city centre.
Councils have already revised original options in response to feedback from the first consultation and views from the second consultation are now being taken into account.
The revised proposals included a city centre Clean Air Zone affecting buses, taxis, HGVs and vans that do not meet emissions standards, along with financial support for vehicle upgrades, exemptions and grace periods to help those affected.
The package of measures would also include changes to the road layout on the Tyne Bridge and approaching routes. This would be aimed at prioritising public transport and – subject to funding – enabling maintenance to be carried out on the bridge.
In addition, councils would also seek major funding to invest in improved walking, cycling and public transport routes in order to enable more people to choose alternatives to driving.
Cabinet meetings to refer the final proposals to full council will take place on Monday 16 December in Newcastle and Tuesday 17 December in Gateshead and a draft business case will be submitted to government following these meetings.
Full council meetings in Newcastle and Gateshead and a cabinet meeting in North Tyneside will be held early in the new year to confirm the final plans.