Sorry about the late reply. I understand you asked for comments on NE LEP and only heard about it now. Grapevine grows slowly sometimes. We are a community group run entirely by volunteers (time-poor and passion-rich) and our response will hence be short & quick, as you will undoubtedly appreciate.
I won’t ‘bore’ you with arduously listing all the fantastic benefits cycling can bring to the economy as I understand you are an avid supporter of cycling yourself. But what I do have to express is my shock to see a total absence of cycling acknowledgement in the emerging NE LEP vision. Naturally, for cycling to become a viable transport option we need safe cycling infrastructure. Total carbon emissions could be reduced by up to 10%, inactivity-related diseases, and social inequalities could be drastically reduced – and our local economy revitalised. All this is increasingly accepted and backed up by research here and in Europe, but also in the United States.
For Newcastle, on a local authority level, we’d like to see extensive re-organisation and re-thinking as listed here http://newcycling.org/news/20110704/newcastle-politics-and-cycling – some of it is now in progress thanks to the Labour administration and a group of active and positive Newcastle Councillors. Our assessment is quite possibly spelling out the general problems that many local authorities have with cycling, ie good words, yet their ‘silo working’ results in little understanding and very little action. On a more regional level, the Economic Review of the NE LEP area is also an opportunity to rethink the geography, agenda and powers of the TW ITA and ensure that cycling is not forgotten and instead becomes the future of sustainable urban mobility.
The Northeast needs dramatic change in cycling infrastructure for the benefit to the economy, something which is clearly true nationally too. We’ve recently brought this to the attention of the parliamentary inquiry http://newcycling.org/news/20121205/parliamentary-inquiry (the full submission is attached to the webpage). To mirror the national request, regionally and in particular at the NE LEP area, we’d asked for cycling to be part of NE LEP strategy and a high-level respected individual to be appointed by the NE LEP to act as overseer, facilitator and activator working across council bodies to make things happen and to report directly to the LEP.
Happy to develop these thoughts further with you.
I hope this reaches you safely.
Any questions, let us know.
Chair Newcastle Cycling Campaign