Newcastle City Council Elections 2 May 2019

Map of Gosforth Wards

Elections for Newcastle City Council are due to be held on 2 May 2019.

As with last year we’re keen to find out how the candidates propose to address transport-related issues in our community. To do that we’ve come up with five statements or pledges and we have asked each of the candidates whether they support these or if not what they plan to do instead. These are the same as we used for 2018 and you can see candidate’s responses from the 2018 Local Elections here.

Below the candidate’s responses, which we’ll update as they are received, we have also written a bit of background about why we have chosen these particular statements.

Please keep checking back in advance of the elections on 2 May and if one of your candidates has not yet answered please do encourage them to do so. The very least we should expect from future local councillors is a willingness to engage with local residents and share their vision for the future of Gosforth.


The five pledges we have asked candidates to support are:

1. Streets that are safe (and feel safe) for children to walk and cycle to school, to the shops or to the park.

2. Air pollution in Newcastle brought within legal limits as soon as possible.

3. Residential streets that are pleasant, safe and attractive places to live and where children can play out.

4. Rapid implementation of temporary changes to trial interventions to support these objectives.

5. Constructive community engagement about how to address the public health impacts of travel and the benefits of active travel.

Please see below for more on why we have chosen these pledges and what they mean in practice. We have updated this since last year to reflect recent updates on air pollution, what residents think and how trials work, and as part of the first pledge we are also asking candidates to support a bid for Streets for People to be expanded to Gosforth.


Candidates are listed in the same order as on the Newcastle City Council local election website. Where a response is shown as a link, please click on the link for further details of the candidates response.

*** We have now contacted candidates and will update this table with responses as and when responses are received. See also below for a note on Air Pollution***

Dene and South Gosforth Ward

Candidate Party Response
 Nicholas (Nick) Arnold Labour Support – See Manifesto
 Jason Bit Conservative
 Anna Foster Green Support
 Henry Gallagher Liberal Democrats See Manifesto
 David Muat UKIP

Fawdon and West Gosforth Ward

Candidate Party Response
 Stephen (Steve) Axford Conservative
 Alexander (Sandy) Irvine Green Support
 Peter Lovatt Liberal Democrat See Manifesto
 Adam Walker Labour See Manifesto

Gosforth Ward

Candidate Party Response
 Craig Dawson Labour Support –See Manifesto
 Alistair Ford Green Support
 Stephen (Steve) Kyte Conservative Support
 Thomas (Tom) Woodwark Liberal Democrat See Manifesto

Parklands Ward

Candidate Party Response
 John Hall Independent
 James Milne Green Support
 Christine Morrissey Liberal Democrat See Manifesto
 Laura Repton Labour See Manifesto
 John Urquhart Independent Support
 John Watts Conservative

Note on Air Pollution

The requirement set by Government, to be compliant with UK law, is that the Council produces a plan that will meet air quality limits in the shortest possible timescales.

The Council has set out in this ChronicleLive Article why some form of road charging will be required to achieve this. “Tyneside clean air tolls: Council bosses explain why we can’t avoid them” 

While we welcome ideas that will lead to a longer-term reduction in air pollution, these ideas in themselves are unlikely to be sufficient for the current planning process. If a candidate or party wishes to propose an approach without tolls as a viable alternative, they would have to demonstrate that approach would be likely to achieve compliance in the same timescales or quicker than the proposed Charging Clean Air Zone (CAZ). 



Pledge 1. Streets that are safe, and feel safe, for children to walk and cycle to school, to the shops or to the park.

Everyone should be able to travel safely whether they walk, cycle, use public transport or drive and should feel safe while they do so, but this isn’t currently the case in Gosforth. Often, traffic is fast and heavy, which is intimidating to many people.

In the SPACE for Gosforth Your Streets – Your Views survey, 88% of respondents supported safe walking and cycling routes to schools.

Children are less able to look out for themselves and are more likely to be injured or even killed in the event of a collision, so focusing on children, whether travelling independently or with an adult, is a good way to make Gosforth safer for everyone.

As part of this pledge we are asking candidates to support a bid for Streets for People to be expanded to Gosforth.

Pledge 2. Air pollution in Newcastle brought within legal limits as soon as possible.

In the last official figures from 2017, Gosforth High Street had the highest air pollution reading in Newcastle, substantially higher than the legal limit which should have been met by 2010.

SPACE for Gosforth has set out the many negative health impacts of air pollution including via this recent blog Which works best: Tolls or a Clean Air Zone? Latest estimates are that air pollution is responsible for 64,000 early deaths each year in the UK as well as a wide range of illnesses.

As a result of this Public Health crisis, Newcastle City Council has been mandated by DEFRA to produce a plan, which is currently open for consultation. DEFRA has also written to Newcastle City Council threatening legal action if there are any further delays to its plan.

This plan must meet legal limits in the shortest possible timescales. In practice this means some sort of road charging is inevitable. The Council can still determine who is charged and how much, as long as its plan is demonstrably likely to meet legal limits by 2021. It can also seek funding for other measures such as grants or loans to upgrade older vehicles.

Map showing air pollution levels in the City Centre in 2017

Pledge 3. Residential streets that are pleasant, safe and attractive places to live and where children can play out without fear of traffic.

Streets aren’t just about movement of traffic. They are also where we live, shop and socialise, and for children also where they are most likely to play outside near their homes.

In the SPACE for Gosforth Your Streets – Your Views survey, 85% of respondents supported reducing through traffic on residential streets.

Low-traffic neighbourhoods with streets that are safe for children are better for everyone with less noise, less danger and cleaner air.  It’s even been shown that people living on streets with less traffic have more friends and a better social life than those that live on streets with heavy traffic.

Newcastle City Council Road Hierarchy.

Pledge 4. Rapid implementation of temporary changes to trial interventions in support of these objectives.

If Pledges 1-3 are to mean anything there must be some meaningful and urgent action as a result. One option is to use trial interventions that can be implemented quickly to let residents experience changes before they are made permanent. If there are issues with the scheme, residents can provide feedback and action can be taken with local Councillors to resolve those issues.

As well as providing safety benefits earlier than might otherwise be achieved, this removes any guesswork as to what the effects might be and ensures that schemes can be evaluated on their actual merits.

Pledge 5. Constructive community engagement about how to address the public health impacts of travel and the benefits of active travel.

Making streets safer and cutting air pollution should be objectives that everyone supports, but it is still important that the council and local councillors engage with the community to ensure that residents understand what the issues are and have a chance to help solve those issues. Air pollution in particular is invisible and we’ve found that many people haven’t been aware that it has been, and continues to be, a problem in Gosforth. Nor are people generally aware of the very serious health impact of sedentary lifestyles which cost taxpayers billions of pounds every year and are responsible for even more early deaths than air pollution.

Likewise it is often challenging to put ourselves in others’ shoes, to understand for example what it is like to be a child on Gosforth’s streets, what it is like to be a parent cycling or walking with children (or even alone) on busy streets during the rush hour, or what it is like for residents or visitors with disabilities or conditions for whom travel is a challenge. It is only by having this broad engagement that we can ensure that Gosforth’s streets are safe and accessible for everyone.

These five pledges are based on SPACE for Gosforth’s objectives which you can see here. They don’t cover all the SPACE for Gosforth objectives but we welcome input from candidates about how they will go about meeting other aspects of those objectives to make streets in Gosforth more healthy, liveable, accessible and safe for everyone of all ages and abilities.

If you don’t live in Gosforth please feel free to ask your local candidates to support these pledges as well. We know very well that Gosforth isn’t the only area that suffers from these issues.

You can follow SPACE for Gosforth on Facebook or Twitter. If you support the SPACE for Gosforth objectives please do join us. Information about how to join SPACE for Gosforth is here.

8 thoughts on “Newcastle City Council Elections 2 May 2019

  1. SPACE for Gosforth Post author

    SPACE pledges. Anna Foster, Green Party candidate for Dene & South Gosforth ward, April 2019

    As the Green Party candidate for Dene and South Gosforth, I am a huge supporter of SPACE for Gosforth and I wholeheartedly endorse the 5 pledges.

    1.Streets that are safe (and feel safe) for children to walk and cycle to school, to the shops or to the park.

    Our ward contains four schools, we are lucky to have Jesmond Dene on our doorstep alongside other green spaces such as Paddy Freemans park, Little Moor, South Gosforth Green and the Valley – all maintained by local volunteers. Also in our area we have two of the largest workplaces in Newcastle: the Ministry and the Freeman Hospital and of course we also have some of the busiest roads in Newcastle to negotiate.

    While I am a confident cyclist and cycle across Gosforth to work as often as I can, I can understand why others would be put off from cycling, especially children, despite the great work that our local schools do to promote walking and cycling to school. Ideally, if workplaces provided more flexible working options, busy parents could explore alternative approaches rather than dropping their children at school in their cars before travelling on to their workplaces.

    On the roads, drivers often do not provide cyclists with enough space, the road surfaces are poor and many cycle paths often have cars parked upon them. Shared use paths often frighten older residents who feel vulnerable when cyclists share their space. I would like to see safer, segregated cycle routes and more consideration given to the needs of both cyclists and pedestrians by road planners, and, ultimately, less traffic on the roads.

    2. Air pollution in Newcastle brought within legal limits as soon as possible.

    We are all breathing illegal levels of toxic air, and proposals to tackle this issue should be fair, proportionate and joined up with other council policies, including the recently declared climate emergency.

    The current levels of air pollution in the area are of grave concern, with one third of deaths from stroke, lung cancer and heart disease thought to be due to air pollution (World Health Organisation). A report by the Newcastle Green Party showed that parts of Newcastle have air quality as poor as in London. I work for the NHS locally and I am particularly alarmed at the recent Kings College London study which highlighted links between air pollution and psychotic experiences in young people.

    I have commented on the current council consultation at (open until 17 May) and I would encourage all residents to take a look at the proposals, particularly as parts of our ward are in the proposed Clean Air Zone. I would like to see the city council do much more to combat the problem, for example:

    – Investing in better integrated, cleaner public transport, especially buses
    – Improved park and ride schemes
    – Encouraging car sharing schemes
    – Investment in clean, renewable energy

    3. Residential streets that are pleasant, safe and attractive places to live and where children can play out.

    Our area has been greatly affected by the long closure of Killingworth Road, experiencing the impact of commuters finding alternative routes into and across the city.

    I would encourage more residents to explore the local Play Streets and street parties schemes, which are not widely known. Residents can apply to the council to close their street to through traffic for a short period of time, which is a great way to get kids active, get to know your neighbours better and bring communities closer together. It’s a great shame that we need to apply to close roads to feel safe enough to encourage our kids to play out, and longer term, it would be great to see enough reduction in traffic volumes to reclaim our residential streets and see them as community spaces rather than rat runs.

    I support the introduction of lower speed limits on residential streets so that our families would feel more confident in allowing their children to play outside their houses. Tree planting schemes would also improve our streets, while also helping to combat the effects of climate change.

    4. Rapid implementation of temporary changes to trial interventions to support these objectives.

    I am in support of temporary initiatives to try out a range of different approaches, complemented by effective consultation and engagement with residents, so that we can learn which are the most effective and most appropriate for our area. Rapid action will also help to continue to raise awareness of the importance of clean air and safe streets.

    5. Constructive community engagement about how to address the public health impacts of travel and the benefits of active travel.

    I would strongly support any initiatives and consultations to raise awareness of the public health impact of motorised travel, and to encourage people to travel by foot or by bike. I would also like to see these initiatives focus as much on the benefits to mental health of active travel as well as the physical health benefits.

    Local workplaces and businesses can also be encouraged to do more to support alternatives to car travel, such as the provision of showers, secure cycle parking and bike to work schemes.

    Effective community engagement should ideally take many forms, for example through face to face meetings, questionnaires, social media, online consultations etc and by engaging with local community groups to reach as many residents as possible. Once views have been gathered, it’s vitally important that those views are acted upon and a Green councillor would hold the council to account on promised actions.

    Anna Foster

    22 April 2019

  2. SPACE for Gosforth Post author

    Alistair Ford, Green Party candidate for Gosforth ward,

    As I’m sure you’d expect, I am very happy to support all five of SPACE for Gosforth’s election pledges.

    1. Streets that are safe (and feel safe) for children to walk and cycle to school, to the shops or to the park.

    If streets are safe for children to walk and cycle, then they’re safe for everyone. I believe we should be pursuing the ‘Vision Zero’ standard for our streets, designing out danger and ensuring that motor vehicles don’t jeopardise the safety of local residents. If elected, I’d work within the council to see Vision Zero adopted in Newcastle and begin working towards streets that protect vulnerable users.

    2. Air pollution in Newcastle brought within legal limits as soon as possible.

    Two years ago I launched the Green Party’s general election campaign on the bridge above the Central Motorway, talking about the need to tackle air pollution. Finally we are seeing belated action on the issue. Addressing air pollution can also address other issues with our transport mix, providing better walking, cycling, and public transport options to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve health, and make our neighbourhoods safer and happier places to live. I support strong action on the issue and am calling for the council to show leadership in tackling air quality.

    3. Residential streets that are pleasant, safe and attractive places to live and where children can play out.

    I strongly believe the residential streets should be places for people to live, not for through motor traffic. If elected I would work with other Gosforth councillors to explore options to remove through traffic from residential streets, particularly places such as Elmfield Road, Ilford Road, and Linden Road where traffic volumes and speeds are far too high. There are simple and cost-effective solutions that could be employed on an experimental basis by the council so residents could experience the impacts of such measures and enjoy the benefits of safer streets. I would also support the long-term closure of Salters Bridge to motor vehicle traffic.

    4. Rapid implementation of temporary changes to trial interventions to support these objectives.

    As above, I see the use of temporary changes as a good way to prove that alternatives can work and better understand the impacts.

    5. Constructive community engagement about how to address the public health impacts of travel and the benefits of active travel.

    I am proud to have been part of the Blue House working group, to have arranged a public meeting about air pollution in Gosforth, and to have worked on the High Street working group over the previous three years. I believe local people working together can help find solutions to the transport issues we face in a collaborative manner. In my day job at Newcastle University, I am working on projects that look to develop tools that can be used by communities to explore their own futures and answer questions about potential interventions. IF elected, I would be pro-active in establishing community working groups to better understand transport issues in the area and develop solutions collaboratively with a wide range of local people.

    I hope this gives your members an impression of the things I and the Green Party are standing for in this election.

    All the best,


  3. SPACE for Gosforth Post author

    Steve Kyte, Conservative candidate, Gosforth ward.

    Pledge 1. Streets that are safe, and feel safe, for children to walk and cycle to school, to the shops or to the park.
    Of course I want this and more, I want the streets to be safe for everybody no matter how they travel along them, including vehicle users. The Streets for People initiative you highlight I will have to look at on an individual case basis and in more detail.

    Pledge 2. Air pollution in Newcastle brought within legal limits as soon as possible.
    Yes, yes, yes. I’m not shy about admitting I’m asthmatic (Blue & Brown inhalers) and for many years a competitive runner, running thousands of miles around the streets of Gosforth over the past 20 years. I want clean air. How soon is ‘as soon as possible’? Sooner the better, but I don’t think drivers should bear the burden, there is a lot more we can do than just penalise people who drive vehciles.

    Pledge 3. Residential streets that are pleasant, safe and attractive places to live and where children can play out without fear of traffic.
    Like myself the vast majority of people want to live in streets described like this, and I will work to acheive this. I live in a street of 1930’s semi’s and children do play out in the street regularly (as I was driving out to work 2 days ago one of the Dads was playing footie with his children in the street) and aways have done in the 25 years we’ve lived here (it’s not a cul-de-sac). In fact my daughter broke her wrist in 2 places falling from her rollers baldes in the street when she was 10 years old (no vehicle involved). I’m sure there are streets where some people (parents & children) have a ‘fear’ of traffic but this might not be as widespread as you make it sound. I suspect there are children drawn to indoor entertainment rather than playing in the street and it may be their parents who yearn for them to play out.

    Pledge 4. Rapid implementation of temporary changes to trial interventions in support of these objectives.
    This pledge sems to put the cart before the horse, let’s see what all residents of a street/area want, and what can be proportionately acheived to meet their needs. As you suggest have some trials (pilot schemes) to see what works and what doesn’t. How fast is ‘rapid’ when dealing with these matters?

    Pledge 5. Constructive community engagement about how to address the public health impacts of travel and the benefits of active travel.
    It is indeed important that there is comprehensive community engagement. Because a person or group of people are organised and shout loud for their cause, doesn’t always mean they are right or should have their way. There are many people for many reasons that don’t ‘engage’ (I wonder what proportion of the electorate will read these pledges?) and these people must be consultated.

    Thanks for letting me have my say.

    Best wishes,

    Steve K

  4. SPACE for Gosforth Post author

    John Urquhart, Independent candidate for Parklands ward.

    Congratulations to “Space for Gosforth” on their focus on the need to improve air quality in Gosforth and beyond. Yes of course I support your five pledges!

    As you will see from the enclosed pdf of my election address, I have also pledged that, if elected, I would fight to provide air pollution filters for every classroom in Newcastle. Reducing exposure to air pollution is critical particularly for young children. Zero pollution levels can be achieved in classrooms if HEPA filters are used to precipitate particulate matter in the air. This is very important for children suffering from asthma.

    Extracts from John’s election leaflet.


    Newcastle City Council is considering charging all cars that cross the Tyne Bridges to “reduce air pollution”. This will simply displace the air pollution problem and could well kill off
    Newcastle as a shopping centre.

    On the other hand, 40-60% of all cars crossing the Tyne contain single drivers. Charging them but letting vehicles with one or more passengers go free would increase car occupancy. This would cut the number of cars in Newcastle but still generate revenue – millions of pounds per year. This could be spent on addressing social cuts and environmental improvements including a free electric shuttle bus, a scrappage scheme for older cars and air pollution filters for every school classroom in Newcastle.


    There is a worrying number of cyclist versus pedestrian confrontations on pavements and around shared space.
    Newcastle needs a new bylaw which makes it an offence to cycle within one metre of a pedestrian without due warning by ringing a bell.


    Newcastle has far too many traffic lights. These should be replaced by small roundabouts and synchronised pedestrian crossings as proposed for the Haddrick’s Mill junction. This would ensure traffic flowed smoothly and considerably reduce air pollution.


    We can’t abolish cars in Newcastle but we can make life much easier and healthier for those who can’t or don’t want to drive, by:
    • Free electric bus shuttle round City centre
    • £4 all-day travel pass for ALL buses and Metro
    • Electric and hybrid taxi rank on Blackett Street
    • Air pollution filters for every school classroom in Newcastle
    • Abolish parking charges for blue badge holders

  5. SPACE for Gosforth Post author

    Sandy Irvine, Green Party Candidate for Fawdon and West Gosforth

    Thank you for the invitation to sign up to your pledges which I am very happy to do. I’ve supported SPACE from the start since I share its concerns about traffic problems in Gosforth. Apart from issues such as bad air pollution, greenhouse gas generation, noise, safety risks, and sheer congestion, I would note that the centre of Gosforth is simply not an attractive destination, merely a corridor clogged with polluting vehicles. Children and older citizens in particular get a very bad deal. The alternatives of better public transport and a much better deal for cyclists and pedestrians would, I think, create a safer, healthier and generally more vibrant neighbourhood.

    I was featured in the local press supporting the proposed Red Route scheme, though I think it should start farther north, after the house, than the version council originally proposed. Buses must be given far more priority. I strongly support ‘Safe Streets’ initiatives and so forth. Contrary to popular mythology, the real costs of motoring are not paid by the individual motorist who is subsidised in many ways as transport experts such as the Green Party’s John Whitelegg have demonstrated. We must work on two fronts: make alternatives more attractive but also make private motoring less attractive (slower, dearer, and less convenient).

    I feel that the current council policy of keeping the traffic moving is quite misguided. If successful, it will only ‘induce’ more traffic, recreating the original problem. It also has had the negative effect of producing insane schemes such as the original Blue House mega-roundabout plan, which we Greens strongly opposed. Furthermore, it has led to less frequent crossing time for pedestrians at the crossings such as the one near Sainsbury’s on the High Street.

    The lamentable deal bus passengers often get is epitomised by the congested single bus stop, now minus a shelter, near the St Oswald’s charity shop opposite the Brandling pub. There is no shelter for the heavily used bus stop at the bottom of Salters Road, a route buses struggle to navigate such is the number of parked cars. We need to address the resentment felt by some older citizens in particular against cyclists on pavements by providing better and safer routes for those on bikes.

    We must put the needs of local communities first. A good example is Gosforth Garden Village. The closure of the through road has improved environmental standards as well as community life there. It should stay closed. However the council has been too slow in stopping the ‘rat runs’ to the west of the High Street. To be fair there are some good initiatives such as the proposed pedestrian crossing outside Spar on Salters Road. In town, Barras Bridge is far better than it used to be. Improvements are possible!

    There are many lobbies for this or that option, including more car parking. We must start from the big picture. The sustainability crunch is in the here and now, climate breakdown being only one symptom. That big picture is created by all the ‘little’ choices we make in places such as Gosforth, with transport being a particularly critical sector. What we do now will decide the fate of tomorrow. We really do have to change direction and radically so. There may be short-term inconveniences but that is the only way to avoid long-term ruination, as Extinction Rebellion has been spotlighting this week. We need political action so that spending can be switched to, say, public transport and away from more roads and airport expansion. It is also necessary for ‘transitional’ schemes, ones that can smooth the way, such as diesel car scrappage payments and electric taxi promotion (eg )

    To make the necessary changes, we need Green voices on Newcastle city council. Its track record to date is, quite frankly lamentable, not least in its bulldozing through the local Core Strategy. This plan will only generate greater levels of traffic and longer journeys. Nationally the Green Party is at the cutting edge of the thinking society needs. Here is an example:

    I also think we must learn from best practice abroad. Sad to say, Newcastle is falling behind. Here are some examples of initiatives we would be wise to copy:

    I am happy to answer in more details. In the meantime, thanks to SPACE for all its excellent efforts.

    Sandy Irvine

  6. SPACE for Gosforth Post author

    Liberal Democrats

    The Liberal Democrat Party are fielding candidates in each of the four Gosforth wards.

    The full Newcastle Liberal Democrat 2019 Local Election Manifesto is available here:

    The Liberal Democrats say they would develop their own Air Quality strategy with priorities being as following:

    • Redirection of planned expenditure on road charging infrastructure, and any revenue generated to bring about improvements, to public transport, park and ride, and cycling and walking infrastructure;
    • Partnership working with operators to facilitate transition to low-emission buses, extended park and ride provision, and improved bus infrastructure;
    • Extension of the Council’s air quality monitoring network, including making public safety announcements on days when air quality levels are exceeding safe levels. We would encourage schools, businesses and public sector organisations to display ‘traffic light’ information on air quality levels;
    • We would seek to create bus priority routes for low-emission buses to reduce diesel emissions on major bus corridors;
    • We would seek to ensure greater uptake of bus ridership through new subsidised fare offers for people who leave their cars at home one day a week and/or one week a month.
    • We would champion ‘freight consolidation’, and the switch away from diesel vehicles;
    • We would establish ‘school clean air zones’ which would prioritise safer sustainable travel routes to schools and discourage the ‘school run’.
    Liberal Democrats would ensure greater transparency in Council reporting on transport project delivery and use of transport budgets which has been a major problem in recent years.
    We would review and improve the council’s approach to cycling and walking: little progress has been made on enhancing the city’s network of segregated strategic cycle routes and implementing school sustainable travel plans.

    Separately, they have told us that they would aim to emulate the approach taken by Nottingham City Council including:
    – better enforcement on anti-idling – other cities doing much better
    – low-emission bus priority corridors
    – seeking transition to low emission bus/taxis citywide
    – increased park and ride provision
    – school clean air zones
    – extending air quality monitoring zone coverage and improving real time public info on AQ level breaches

    They are also looking at the Nottingham Workplace Parking Levy but haven’t yet come to a firm view on that yet.

    Other aspects of the Liberal Democrat Transport Manifesto remain unchanged. A summary is available here from the 2018 SPACE for Gosforth election blog.

  7. SPACE for Gosforth Post author


    The Labour Party are fielding candidates in each of the four Gosforth wards.

    The full Newcastle Labour 2019 Local Election Manifesto is available here:

    The following is an extract from that Manifesto from the section titled “Environment – a clean, green and safe Newcastle”

    Although the city council has a leadership role to play on environmental sustainability and climate change, real action will be delivered by people. This means we have to persuade our citizens of the need for change, and encourage businesses to prioritise this despite potential additional costs. We will therefore establish a Climate Change Convention, bringing together businesses, residents, academics and public sector representatives to agree a city-wide plan of behaviour change and action.

    During 2018 we continued with the development of the bus loop which included upgrading signals at junctions and also widening Newgate Street. These measures will contribute to making buses more reliable and efficient with improved journey times. We also had the trial closure of Blackett Street at weekends and this proved to be a great success. Business Groups including NE1 (the business improvement district initiative) supported the closures and arranged the social and leisure activities on Blackett Street during the closures. The overwhelming opinion is that the street was much more pleasant and safer for pedestrians.

    We will therefore:
     Prioritise pedestrians and public transport in the city centre:
     Challenge bus operators (who are private providers independent of the
    council) to work towards zero emissions fleets:

    As part of the efforts to improve air quality across the city bus operators were awarded £3.3m to retro-fit their fleet and bring them up to Euro 6 standard. Stagecoach has told us that this funding will bring 65% of their fleet up to the required standard. We will continue to work with bus operators and push them towards having 100% of their fleet brought up to standard. Our work with NEXUS has seen the introduction of the POP Blue card. This card is available for all residents aged 16-19 years and offers journeys for £1 which is a greatly discounted rate.

    We have continued to invest in cycling infrastructure across the city and are currently consulting with the public about Streets for People in 3 areas of the city. This programme will further enhance public space to encourage people to walk and cycle more. We have also supported cycle training schemes such as Bikeability and an “over-50s” Cycling School to encourage those looking to take up cycling for the first time.

    We will continue to invest in new cycling infrastructure and encourage more people in the city to cycle.

    We have already run a hard hitting publicity campaign to raise awareness of the positives of improving air quality, plus the dangers of poor air quality. The amount of commuter traffic, the school run, irresponsible and dangerous driving and parking outside schools and vehicles idling, are all recognised as significant issues. We have already introduced a ‘park and stride’ scheme for staff at the Civic Centre, and in the coming year will;

     Review the evidence from the current consultation into improving air quality, and make final recommendations to improve air quality in areas which breach the formal legal limit imposed by Government;
     Call on Government to devolve powers and funding to our area (e.g. for bus retrofitting, installation of charging points for electric vehicles, regulation of bus routes and fares) so that we can work with businesses and communities on long term strategic plans to improve air quality;
     Lobby the combined Authority and North of Tyne Elected Mayor to press Government for support to local authorities to achieve this;
     Campaign for more powers to ban vehicles idling (e.g. outside schools, at taxi ranks and bus stops);
     Work with taxi drivers to find new solutions to the challenges faced by the taxi trade;
     Consider restricting the age of vehicles that can be used as taxis;
     Work to involve children and young people in activities which improve air
    quality round their school, on their journey to school/college and in their neighbourhood – especially exploring more Park and Stride Schemes, review/evaluate school travel plans and School Streets;
     Promote and encourage use of car clubs, car sharing schemes;
     Use the Highways Maintenance budget as effectively as possible and carry
    out infrastructure changes as part of maintenance schemes.

  8. SPACE for Gosforth Post author

    James Milne, Green Party Candidate for Parklands Ward

    Thank you for the invitation to sign up to your pledges. I’m delighted to say I can wholeheartedly endorse them all. As a psychology graduate I’m well aware of the negative impact dangerous levels of air pollution have on residents’ mental as well as physical health, and the positive impact of active travel (walking, cycling), which we should do everything we can to encourage.

    Within Parklands ward, Green party members have been heavily involved in the campaign to keep Salter’s bridge closed to vehicular traffic. This is a practical example of how we’re already taking action in accordance with the principles you’ve set out, even before we have the resources and opportunities that are available only to Councillors.

    Our candidates in the Gosforth area (all copied in to this email) include an expert in transport infrastructure (Alistair Ford), an expert in environmental psychology, working for an architectural firm specialising in community engagement and masterplanning schemes (me), and a Town Planning graduate (Sandy Irvine). Our team has the knowledge and expertise to help improve the built environment and air quality of the Gosforth area, and the city as a whole; these are policy areas where a lot of power is devolved to local government, so Councillors with the right knowledge and skills in these areas can be really effective. Our fourth Candidate, Anna Foster, works for the NHS, which bears the brunt of both the human and financial cost of poor air quality, social isolation and inactive lifestyles resulting from the car-dependent urban environments we currently have.

    I note you’ve provided links to party manifestos on last year’s pledge page. We’d love it if you’d consider providing a link to the following page setting out the Green Party’s campaign on these issues:

    Thank you for all your work on these important issues.

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